6 Expert Tips to Build — & Protect — Your Teen’s Self Esteem – SheKnows

Most of us have heard of self-esteem. Most of us can agree that we want our teens to have healthy self-esteem, and we know self-esteem can be fragile during those formative teen years. However, self-esteem is still a vague concept, especially as it relates to our teenagers.

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Enter National Teen Confidence Month, which begins in early May, alongside Mental Health Awareness Month. It is sponsored by I Am Worth More, a non-profit organization whose goal is to help youth build their self-esteem by connecting them to the right resources and manifesting positive influences. in entertainment.

In recognition of National Youth Awareness Month, She knows spoke with Jill Emanuele, PhD, Vice President, Clinical Training, Institute of Child Minds, Ken Ginsburg, MD, MSEd, Founder and Director of the Parent & Teen Communication Center , and Lena Derhally, Licensed Psychotherapist and Author of Facebook addictto help parents understand what can affect their teen’s self-esteem and how to help them build it back.

Teenagers’ narcissism is influenced by the world around them

Adolescents’ self-esteem is affected by everything from the type of social media they interact with to the type of circle of friends they surround themselves with, according to Dr Emanuele. Likewise, how they learn, what activities they engage in, their overall mental health, whether they have experienced abuse or trauma, and whether they face any major life event (such as moving house or a parent’s divorce) that can affect self-esteem.

A less obvious factor influencing teen self-esteem: the teen’s parents. How parents model self-esteem and how parents interact with teenagers can be very important for a teen’s self-esteem.

Teenage narcissism is linked to negative activities

A 2014 national report found that 75% of “girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities such as hacking, bullying, smoking, drinking or eating disorders. This compares with 25% of girls with high self-esteem.”

Dr. Emanuele echoed this opinion, noting that common behaviors associated with self-esteem among adolescents in general include negative thinking about themselves, depressive symptoms (including withdrawal withdrawal from activities or friends, sadness, fatigue, irritability), drug use, academic struggles, and difficulty with interpersonal relationships.

According to Derhally, it has been noted that this can manifest through self-deprecating comments or choosing to refrain from expressing themselves authentically.

Expert tips to build and protect your child’s confidence

Present

The single most important thing parents can do to build and protect their children’s self-esteem is to be by their side and love them unconditionally, says Dr. Ginsburg. “Parents know you better than anyone, they know all that is good and right, know your problems. When they still decide that you’re worth being loved, that really translates into a person who knows they’re worth being loved. When a young person knows that they are worthy of love, they have a natural shield against outside forces that say they are not good enough.”

“Parents don’t always influence a child’s self-esteem, but they can profoundly influence a child’s sense of self-worth,” says Dr. Self-esteem may be something they feel in the moment, but self-worth is something they carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Healthy Self Esteem Model

It turns out, how parents model their self-esteem significantly affects how a teen will develop self-esteem. Dr Emanuele notes: “Children do not exist in a vacuum. “They are a product of their environment and their world. If the parent is struggling with self-esteem, that is being modeled, and the child is thinking and behaving the same way. “

Keep in touch open

Regularly bond with your child. Ask question. Make sure they know they can tell you anything. “Don’t push, check often, and eventually, if you really try to connect, they’ll talk,” Dr. Emanuele assures.

When it comes to comments that seem contrived with low self-esteem, Derhally encourages parents to reflect on what they’ve heard from their children (as in: “I’ve heard you say…”). , validate their thoughts (as in: “It must be hard to feel that way about yourself…”), and then empathize.

Teach children how to solve their own problems, then give them the freedom to do so

Give them the tools to solve the problem, then step back and let them do it. When children make their own choices and feel competent in social and academic situations, they feel better about themselves. That means parents must hold back the urge to micromanage their teens or fix situations—whether social or academic.

“I see a lot of parents trying to solve problems for their children, and that doesn’t teach them how. It’s hard for them to make mistakes,” notes Dr. Emanuele, but ultimately, it’s an important part of helping them realize their self-worth. She encourages parents to let teens “make their own decisions and opinions rather than tell them what they’re thinking” and then celebrate the effort rather than the results.

Plus, Derhally encourages parents to normalize failure. After all, it’s part of life.

Monitor social relationships

In connection with the above, Dr. Emanuele encourages parents to be aware of who their children’s friends are and what kind of relationships they have. “Don’t over monitor,” she warns, but help them recognize problematic behavior if it exists and show them how to deal with it. “Show that you don’t like the way X treats them, then get [your teen’s] opinion about it. Talk to them about how they can solve the problem on their own. “

Social media awareness

When we think about low self-esteem, many of us just immediately go to social media. We’re not wrong — there’s definitely a correlation. We are not right.

“Social media is absolutely amazing for self-esteem and absolutely terrible for children’s self-esteem,” says Dr Ginsburg, who emphasizes that social media can positive, especially when it allows kids who feel like outsiders to connect with others outside of their community.

However, social media begins to negatively affect teenagers’ self-esteem when it becomes a reservoir for the message that you are not good enough. Thanks to the ubiquity of filters and photo-edited images, teenagers are regularly bombarded with perfect, bogus images. Their self-esteem can start to suffer when they are unable to achieve these false ideals or achieve a certain amount of likes.

Derhally says it’s already hard for adults to process the flow of information, and for teenagers, it’s even harder. “Adolescents don’t have the brain development or life experience to process it.”

When should you seek further assistance?

Parents who need additional support should always contact a specialist. “It’s never too early to evaluate your child, but especially so” if you notice a change in behavior or the way they normally function within a few weeks, Dr. Emanuele notes. ”

At its core, self-esteem is tied to our self-worth, whether or not we feel worthy of being loved by family and friends. Our teenagers are constantly trying to find their self-worth and they are doing so by absorbing the messages around them. This means that the best thing a parent can do is to be informed, aware and presented. It may seem like a small thing, but it is certainly the most important thing.

These famous parents got a very real understanding of their kids growing up.

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https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/2566767/build-teen-self-esteem/ 6 Expert Tips to Build — & Protect — Your Teen’s Self Esteem – SheKnows

Zack Zwiezen

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