Teens 2 small.png

Our teenage years can be some of the most challenging we experience in our lives. If you are a parent, friend, or relative of a teenager and notice they appear to be struggling, there are simple steps you can take to help them increase their self-esteem.

It is important to remember that being a teenager is a complicated and sometimes chaotic experience. Bodies are changing, hormone levels are irregular, and the two combined can make it difficult to act calmly and reasonably. In addition to the personal changes we undergo, there are also the social dynamics at school, the pressure to fit in, and the stress of excelling in sports and academics to contend with.

If you are reading this article, chances are you have noticed a drop in your teenager’s self-esteem, perhaps a moodiness or sadness that wasn’t there before, or a downtrodden or angry attitude towards you or life in general. The good news is that with time, your teenager will become an adult and these things will pass. In the meantime, however, there are simple ways to help your teenager build their self-esteem, become more comfortable and confident in themselves, and develop a more positive relationship with life. Keeping reading for ten ways to help teenagers build self-esteem.

  1. Focus on your teen’s accomplishments and individuality. Acknowledge what they are good at, the areas in life they excel in, and give them praise for their unique talents and abilities. Stop focusing on the outcome of things or the need for perfectionism, and instead praise your teen’s efforts and focus on how they feel while in the process. 

  2. Encourage positive self-talk. How we talk to ourselves greatly impacts the way we feel. By teaching your teenager to speak kindly and encouraging to themself, you will be teaching them to be their own source of encouragement and inspiration. When the voice in our head is offering praise for a job well done or acknowledgement when we try something new, our attitude towards ourselves shifts and our self-esteem grows. 

  3. Teach your teenager to set and reach goals. When we make goals and keep promises to ourselves, we build our self-trust and consequently our self-esteem rises. Confidence comes from overcoming challenges, from doing hard things, and from knowing that we can trust ourself to finish what we started. Encourage your teenager to set and meet goals and you will be helping them see that they can accomplish what they set out to do. 

  4. Lead your teenager towards movement and exercise. Numerous studies have shown the link between exercise and increased levels of self-esteem. In the short-term, exercise boosts our mood and gets us out of our heads. In the long-term, exercise helps us feel stronger, healthier, more comfortable and more confident in our bodies, all of which lead to higher self-esteem. 

  5. Gently push your teen towards new experiences. The world is full of opportunity but it is up to us to explore what we like and what we are good at. Encourage your teenager to try new things, such as dance, music, art, or language. When we learn that we are good at something new, our self-confidence increases because we discover parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed and we get excited to keep exploring. At the same time, when we try new things that we aren’t good at, it teaches us that it’s ok to explore and not be good at everything. Remember, focus on the experience and not the outcome.

  6. Remind your teenager that their friends influence their self-esteem. Teach them to pay attention to how their friends treat them. Do they feel encouraged and lifted up by their social group, or are the people they are spending time with encouraging negativity and making them feel poorly about who they are?

  7. Give less advice. It is easy for us to want to fix someone else’s problems for them, especially when we love them. But remember, self-esteem comes from self-trust. Let your teenage experience new things on their own and be their own source of answers. Micromanaging your teen will make them believe you don’t think they are capable of doing things on their own and will teach them to be dependent on others. By giving less advice, your teenager will learn that whatever comes their way, they can handle it on their own. They will learn to make decisions and form opinions, both of which lead to higher self-esteem and confidence. 

  8. Listen to your teenager but don’t try to fix them. The teenage years are full of moods and emotions. Because of this, sometimes your teen may just need you to listen to them without judgement. They want to know that however they are feeling, it is ok and that you love and accept them unconditionally. And you may be surprised, the more you listen without judgement or advice, the more your teen will want to open up. 

  9. Encourage your teen to help others. It is remarkable how much helping other people makes us feel better about ourselves. Work with your teenager to find ways to contribute their time and energy to things outside of themselves. Encourage your teen to volunteer at a summer camp, community garden, homeless shelter, or elderly care home. Helping others is one of the best ways to build self-esteem because it takes the pressure off of ourselves and gives us a larger perspective on the world. Plus, we feel good when we are contributing to a greater cause. 

  10. Lastly, be an example. Show your teenager what it looks like to treat themselves kindly, to exercise, to try new things, and to keep going when you fail. By being an example for your teenager, you will be showing them what it looks like to live with confidence. Be kind and graceful to yourself and your teenager will notice. 

If you feel like your teen would benefit from teen counseling in Roseville, CA or teen counseling in Fair Oaks, CA.  Please contact us and book an appointment.