The Self-Esteem of Teens

If you have children who are at their teens, you probably already know their self-esteem is rather fragile. Since this young age group tends to focus primarily on their outward appearances, they typically measure their own self-worth by how they feel they appear to others whom they are mixing with. 

Situations for these teens can range from a simple bad haircut to failing to make the team can create intense feelings of humiliation and embarrassment for themselves.

Unfortunately to them, the opinions of Mom and Dad who had brought them up from baby don't carry the weight they used to. The simple reassuring words from parents used to comfort them when they were younger somehow just don't cut it anymore once they turn into teens. 

What then can parents who are at a loss of ideas do to promote a healthy sense of self-esteem in their teens? Christina McCann, Phd, a licensed psychologist in New York state who specializes in working with children, adolescents and families, offers the following tips for us parents:

1) Accept your children for who and what they are. Try not to be critical to your teens, no matter what color they dye their hair or their fashion choices that you may find not to your liking.

2) Go out of your way as parents to tell your teens what you like about them. This means telling them as often as possible the positive things about them.

3) As parents, you need to spend as much one-on-one time with them as possible.

4) If possible, write them a letter telling them what you like and admire about them.

When your teens suffer a blow to their own self-esteem, they may exhibit symptoms of depression. Some of these symptoms you should look out for include changes in sleep patterns, low energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability and changes in eating patterns. Dr. McCann advises that it is normal for all of us humans to suffer mild symptoms of depression from time to time. But if the symptoms affect your child's ability to function normally or last longer than a week, a trip to the pediatrician is in order.

Relevant Reading:
A Kid's Guide to Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem By Ph.D. Wendy L. Moss

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