Everyone struggles with low self-esteem from time to time. As adults, we may feel inadequate when we get passed over for a promotion at work or undesirable because of infidelity in our marriage. We may feel shame because of debt problems or isolated by a distance from – or disconnection with – friends and family. All of these hurdles can create feelings of diminished self-worth.
Teens also often struggle with self-esteem issues, even if they stem from a different source. Some of the biggest causes of low teen self-esteem are internal. The adolescent years are filled with self-doubt and anxiety, and this angst is a normal, if challenging, part of teen development. Hormonal changes, the urge to rebel against values and push family boundaries and the need to achieve social acceptance can all chip away at a teen’s self-esteem.
Other self-esteem issues are fanned by external sources. Bullying or social isolation from other teens can critically damage self-esteem, as can parental abandonment or lack of interest or family support during the critical teen years.
Fortunately, there are many ways to foster positive self-esteem in young adults or to help them restore damaged self-esteem. Parents should first consider what holds value to their teen. If your daughter loves to play soccer, help her build her skills – and give her extra bonding time – through one-on-one practice, or even a private lesson or two. Help her look for new opportunities to spend time doing what she loves, such as summer intensives or skills camps. And make her games a priority – show her you appreciate her performance and enjoy watching her play.
If your teen doesn’t have a hobby, help her find her passion. Encourage her to join a book club, or take a tennis clinic. Sign up for art lessons together, or register her for a martial arts demo class. Help your teen connect with a positive activity that will encourage her to take risks and push her outside her comfort zone. She may even discover a hidden talent.
Other teens build self-esteem by earning promotions or job advancement at work or through high academic achievement. If your teen excels in school or at her after-school job or internship, encourage her career development and higher education goals. Present her with opportunities to achieve – help her research scholarship opportunities or enrichment camps that focus on math or science. Or help her explore future professional paths through job shadowing, participation in student professional societies or independent studies and internships.
Compass Rose Academy can help your teen revitalize her self-esteem and nurture a new, positive sense of self-worth. To learn more, visit www.compassroseacademy.org.