The teenage years can be difficult for both the teen and the parent. They are marked by an increasing desire for independence, and, all too often, struggles with low self-esteem. But while the need for independence is inevitable during your child’s journey to adulthood, low self-esteem doesn’t have to be.
It may seem hard to get through to your teen because they seem to be more interested in what their peers have to say than their parents’ opinions. But there are some things you can do to improve your teen’s self-esteem.
- Accept your teen for who she is. You may not agree with her choices of clothing, hairstyle, or music, but if they’re not causing any harm it’s important to accept them. Your teen needs the opportunity to express herself, and being allowed to do so as much as possible will make her feel better about who she is.
- Talk to your teen. And more importantly, listen to what she has to say. Knowing that you care about her thoughts and opinions is good for her self-esteem. And as much as she may not want to admit it, having you share your thoughts with her will make her feel good as well.
- Share stories from your teenage years. This may induce some eye-rolling, but it’s good for your teen to know that everyone goes through some awkward times at her age. When she is having a tough time, remembering that will make her feel better.
- Give lots and lots of compliments. Teens frequently seek the approval of other teens, but other teens can be harshly critical at times. Although a compliment from you may not carry as much weight as someone from her own age group, it will still do some good.
- Schedule some one on one time with your teen. Active teens may not get as much time with their parents as younger siblings. Seeing to it that you have some special time together will let your teen know that you feel she is worth spending time with.
- Strive to eliminate negativity in your home. Keep your criticism constructive, and don’t let siblings tease or be cruel to one another. Avoid comparing your children to one another and to others outside the family. These are things that we often don’t think about, but they can be very damaging to a teen’s delicate self-esteem.
- Be a good role model. Positive self-esteem on your part will encourage the same in your teenager. On the other hand, if you’re always complaining about your appearance or other aspects of yourself, your teen will be likely to copy those behaviors.