Self-Esteem During Teenage & Adolescent Period: A Helpful Guide for Parents

Building self-esteem in teens

Adolescence is a crucial period of a child’s development that brings challenges for both a rebellious teen and concerned parents. This is the time when your teen undergoes numerous changes, starts discovering their own place in the world and becomes a more independent person.

During adolescence, teenagers are often quite sensitive, especially when it comes to their own insecurities, which can significantly affect their image of themselves. Sometimes they may be exposed to negative experiences that can damage their self-esteem. Since their opinion of and attitudes towards themselves can have a crucial effect on their general well-being, it’s important that you, as a parent, help your teenager raise their self-esteem and get through this challenging period.

Understanding your teen

As your child hits puberty, they will experience numerous physical changes that will make them highly self-conscious about their bodies. However, it’s important to stress that these changes are accompanied by those of adolescence that are related to their cognitive, emotional and behavioural development.

This period can be extremely challenging for parents because their children start rebelling against them as an attempt to differentiate themselves and form their own personalities. Your teen can become moody and quite hostile towards you, which can significantly affect your relationship.

Before resorting to harsh disciplinary measures, you should try to understand your teen better and see things from their own perspective. As already mentioned, this is the time when your teen may encounter certain problems and negative experiences, such as bullying at school, dissatisfaction with their own bodies, social exclusion, extreme peer pressure, etc. Since social relationships play an important role in teens’ lives, such negative experiences can be detrimental to your child’s image of themselves. Therefore, it’s essential that you identify the cause of your child’s withdrawal or hostility and try to help them overcome their problems.

Adolescence and self-esteem

Studies have shown that a person’s self-esteem can significantly decrease during adolescence. This can be a serious problem and hindrance to your child’s general development. Their perception of themselves can affect their future success and well-being.

Children with low self-esteem can often believe that they are unloved and unworthy of happiness, doubt their abilities and intelligence, and have difficulties establishing more meaningful relationships. Not only can this affect their behaviour, but it can also increase their risk of suffering from depression and anxiety. Furthermore, a teen with an extremely negative body image is at greater risk of suffering from eating disorders.

A child with healthy self-esteem is more confident in their abilities, which is the first step towards success, more independent and responsible, more resolute to overcome challenges, not easily influenced and able to establish healthy relationships.

Your teen’s self-esteem is crucial for their general well-being, so you need to help them form a positive image of themselves that will put them on the road to success and happiness.

The role of parents

Parents have a crucial role in raising their children’s self-esteem and helping them overcome the challenges of adolescence. However, since your child may rebel against you and reject your advice, you need to reconnect with them first. Most importantly, you need to nurture an open and honest communication with your teen, learn to listen to their opinions and set clear expectations when it comes to your relationship. You should be tolerant and understanding and remain calm even when they are hostile towards you. Once you become closer to your teen, they will be more willing to listen to your advice.

It’s important that you understand that your teen is a completely different person with new interests and desires. You need to learn more about their ambitions and support them in realising their dreams. Enabling them to find their passion and study something they love and that they’re good at will reflect positively on their self-esteem and general satisfaction.

Another effective way to raise their self-esteem is to praise their achievements, give positive feedback and not criticise their “failures”. Encourage them to try new things, get out of their comfort zones and go after what they want. Of course, there will be times when you’ll need to criticise your teen, but make sure to criticise their actions, instead of their intelligence or personality, and explain why certain behaviours are unacceptable.

You, as a parent, need to provide your child with love and support that will help them overcome certain difficulties and raise their self-esteem.

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