Helping Teenagers Build Self Esteem

Whether you have teenage boys or girls, self-confidence is important. There is a lot of emphasis on girls’ self-esteem but boys need confidence too and often struggle just as much as girls. Check out these tips to help your teen build self esteem.

How to Boost your Teen's Self-Confidence

Growing Into a Confident Adult

The best way to ensure your child grows into a confident adult is to set the tone early. Helping your child build self esteem at an early age, will help them build confidence and know how to interact with the world and also shows them how they should be treated by peers.

Help Them Discover and Pursue Their Interests

It’s easy for teens to blow off their talents and abilities¬†and sometimes peers make fun out of jealousy. Encourage your teen to write a list of their¬†talents and the things they love to do. Keep this list around and look at it often. Help your teen remember their talents when they flunk a test or they are in a tough social situation (maybe a fight with their BFF). Their talents won’t go away and they should be encouraged and praised.

Your teen has a lot of interests and abilities and it’s impossible for them to develop them all or find that one thing they really love to do. Help your teen look into developing and using their talents and abilities in ways beyond school. Not only will this give them more opportunities to be them, it will help build their self-esteem as their talents grow.

It also helps build self esteem when a parent or guardian takes the time and takes interest in their abilities and interests. It helps them feel confident about who they are, and shows them that they don’t need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about their interests.

Don’t Criticize Them Harshly

It’s really important that parents remember, even when they might be upset at their child, not to criticize them. Pointing out your child’s faults, especially when you are angry, can be detrimental to the way they view themselves.

If there is something your child absolutely needs to work on, for example school work, keep the criticism light and positive. Try and find ways that you can help them get through whatever they are having trouble with.

It’s especially important in your child’s teenage years, to be a positive pillar they can lean on. Picking apart your child’s faults will tell them you are not a shoulder they can lean on when they are having trouble with something.

At the same time, it’s important to talk to your child about negative criticism so they know how to receive it. Let the negative thoughts and attitudes roll right off your back. It’s a good thing to practice, if your teenager takes every little criticism and comment to heart they will find themselves unable to deal with other’s judgement.

Learning how to take constructive criticism is a good step towards learning how to build self esteem while also being able to hear what other people might have to say.

Let Them Take Risks and Fail

Parents have a tendency to rescue their children from failure, which is especially prevalent today.

Allow your child to take healthy risks, and fail. Teach them that once they have made a decision or commitment they need to follow through.

Praising Their Talents, Not Their Brains or Beauty

Giving your child praise should come naturally and easily, but we should be careful how and why we give praise. Giving praise based on superficial reasons, like their hair or looks, will send the message that they should be overly concerned with their appearance and they may develop issues viewing themselves.

Another thing to be wary of is praising their brains. When your child is in Elementary school and they keep bringing home tests that they aced, you can be proud and say congratulations, but dwelling and putting too much emphasis can hurt them when they start to find schooling a little more difficult. They may end up under too much stress if they find themselves failing, and may even develop test anxiety.

Make sure your teenager knows that school and this time in their life won’t last forever. They will get out of this stage and shouldn’t let negativity ruin their future.

Expectations With Peers

Treating your children, and even your spouse, with respect and dignity teaches your child how they should expect to be treated by peers. Not only that, when they find themselves in situations where they are being disrespected, they will have the confidence and knowledge to know that it’s not right, and are better equipped to seek help resolving the situation.

This is especially important when your child deals with teachers or other adults, or when your child starts dating.

Managing Their Negative Self-Talk

When your teenager looks at their friends or pictures of celebrities they must resist the temptation to compare themselves and scrutinize themselves. Someone will always have better legs, better hair, or nicer skin then you. Make sure you set the example, don’t let your teenager hear you comparing yourself or complaining about yourself. Speak positively about yourself and teach them to do the same about themselves.

It’s important to listen to that little voice in your head sometimes, but if your teenager is tearing themselves down in their head, they need to stop. Address negative self-talk and make sure they replace it with positivity instead.

Be the Model They Need

If children see the adults in their lives doing something, they are very likely to do that thing themselves.

If the parents are speaking to themselves in a positive way and if they speak to each other in a positive way, the child is likely to learn to speak to themselves in a positive way.

Growing up in a loving household is the best way for a child to learn to love themselves and that they are valuable and are valued. Nurturing a positive view of themselves is a great way to build self esteem, even at the earliest age.

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