Self esteem is made up of the thoughts, opinions and feelings we have about ourselves. Many would also say self esteem is influenced by television, magazines, music and more. Just about anything in our environment can have a positive or negative influence on the way we feel about ourselves. In todays article, I’m going to share seven simple tips for increasing self esteem in your teen. I think you’ll be surprised at a few
- Focus on who your teen is, not what they look like – lots of parents will praise their children based on their beauty and/or appearance. And that’s okay. Just don’t forget to acknowledge their intelligence, independence, ability to follow through or be supportive. Remember, its not just how they look but how they act that counts
- Allow your teen to disagree – growing up I was always told “kids should be seen and not heard”. Its important for teens to be respectful, but disagreeing and sharing feelings doesn’t have to be negative. They’re communicating their thoughts, engaging in meaningful dialogue and developing their negotiation skills among other things. These are great skills to have as they approach young adulthood
- Don’t assume your teen needs your help – parents have the best intentions but sometimes we need to pull back. Allow them to initiate the conversation or if it appears they’re having a tough time, ask if they’d like your assistance. This empowers your teen and can reduce any guilt or shame they may feel.
- Catch them doing well – parents tend to harp on the same things with teens – clean your room, make your bed, do your homework, wash the dishes, etc. Instead of reinforcing what they’re doing wrong, focus on whats going right. “Great job completing your homework”, “Thank you for helping your little sister”, “No dirty clothes on the floor. Awesome job”. Feelings have a direct impact on behavior and I bet they’ll enjoy the compliments more than the criticism.
- Find simple ways to show you care – send a text saying, “I love you” or leave a post it note in their room that says, “You’re the best daughter in the world”. Another idea is carving out time to be “in the moment” and totally focused on the activity or conversation. One of my favorites is sharing stories of when I was a teenager.
- Get teens engaged in activities outside the home – Trying new things can boost your teens confidence quite a bit. Think about their interests and talents and search for a organizations, clubs or volunteer opportunities that match what they like to do. Doing new things with new people isn’t always easy. They might resist a little at first but in the end they’ll thank you for getting them out of their comfort zone
- Monitor and limit social media and tv – according to Dove, only 2% of girls consider themselves beautiful. When we look into the data, it says teen girls were heavily influenced by television, magazines and social media. We can’t eliminate these things, but we can monitor, limit and be actively engaged in their use of technology, media and magazines
- Create an uplifting environment – find simple ways to “sprinkle” things that are positive and uplifting throughout your house – notebooks, artwork and even clothes can reflect how you want to feel. Writing positive affirmations or posting them on your bathroom mirror is another constant reminder of whats going well. Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re special and there’s no one else like you.