Low self-esteem is a common teen issue. As parents, we desperately hope to find a way to preserve the innocence our kids had during youth while also helping them become thriving adults. We watch them go through the trials of adolescence, and we see the way negative experiences with bullying and heartbreak chip away at their self-esteem. What’s a struggling parent to do?
Building Self-esteem in Teens: A Parent’s Role
1. Think About Your Words
You’re probably used to your teens ignoring the sound of your voice, especially when you’re trying to get them to accomplish a chore. However, your kids listen a lot more than you might think, and your words have great power to shape their self-esteem. When working through difficult discussions or arguments, be sure to watch what you say. Even when angry, you can still use positive speech.
What you say in these moments is quite powerful. Kids expect praise after a great achievement, but seeing they are still worthy of respect and love after making a mistake might have an even bigger impact.
2. Find a Deeper Reason
Some kids build self-esteem based on their talents and achievements. If this confidence is placed upon a deeper foundation of self-worth, it can be a great thing. However, if the confidence is superficial, it could easily be lost. For example, if your daughter has big dreams of being a professional musician, but she breaks her hand and can’t play guitar any longer, what will happen to her sense of self-worth? In this situation, it would be your job as a parent to help her understand that her musical talent starts in her mind, not her hands.
3. Be There to Listen
Anyone can pat a kid on the back and tell them they did a good job. Emotional support is a lot more valuable when given with sincerity. One of the greatest things you can do for your teen’s self-esteem is to truly be engaged. Showing a genuine interest in the teenage world will teach your kids that they are worthy of that interest.