Self-esteem means having confidence in your worth and abilities and respecting yourself as a good person with inherent value. Unfortunately, many teenagers feel low self-esteem sometimes, and these intense feelings can affect their quality of life, relationships, and school and work performance. If you are an adolescent or teen struggling with low self-esteem or the parent of an individual suffering, there are ways to stop the downward slide and boost feelings to improve one’s outlook on life. Keep reading to explore six useful strategies to build self-esteem in teens.
#1: Accept some flaws while striving to improve.
Nobody is perfect, and everyone has some flaws. It’s normal and okay to have flaws. But even with those imperfections, a person can always strive to improve. A person should strive to achieve a balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement.
#2: Focus on effort rather than the outcome.
Even if the teen doesn’t achieve the desired outcome (such as on a test or in a sports competition), they can still feel good if they have put forth their best possible effort. So praise the teen for their effort, which they can always control, and outcome, which they cannot always control.
#3: Don’t worry about superficial things.
Encourage your teen not to worry about superficial things over which they have little control, such as the number of likes or the comments they get on social media posts. Instead, they should take pride in the deeper, more meaningful things over which they do have control, such as their personal beliefs and values.
#4: Develop positive internal dialogue.
It’s normal for teens to have negative thoughts about themselves. For example, they may think they’re not pretty enough, not smart enough, or not popular enough. However, it’s crucial to guide them to counter those negative thoughts with an internal dialogue that stresses positive things about themselves. Swap out the self-defeating internal dialogue with self-talk that focuses on good studying skills, kindness to other people, or kudos for doing their best.
#5: Be assertive without being aggressive.
Being assertive means standing up for yourself, asking for help when needed, and confidently making decisions. An assertive teen is likely to be treated better by their peers. Parents can model assertiveness without aggression to teens to show them appropriate ways to engage in challenging situations.
#6: Explore new challenges.
Not settling into a comfortable, easy routine with no challenges is important. Teens will build confidence by pushing boundaries and trying new, unfamiliar things and activities. If the teen is hesitant, remind them that some of these challenges may fail, but others will lead to success.
See a Therapist to Help Build Self-Esteem in Teens
Jessica Bassett, a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Positive Living Psychotherapy, has extensive experience in helping build self-esteem in teens or eating disorders and assisting families with cohesion or marital problems. She offers caring counseling services and a safe, judgment-free zone to help teens and their parents.
Call 770.552.0333 today to schedule an appointment with Jessica at Positive Living Psychotherapy.