Many young women struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and it’s a concern I frequently hear expressed from parents. Self-esteem is developed slowly over time from early childhood until adulthood, and many parents are completely taken off guard when their previously confident child suddenly becomes an unsure and self-critical young woman. Parents also often have concerns about body image issues and relationships with boys. Below are some tips to help your teenager with self-esteem:
1. Teenagers are bombarded with pressure from both the media and their friends to look a certain way. While it’s normal to want to fit in and look attractive, you can help your teen by focusing on the importance of overall physical health and personal attributes not related to their looks. Moms – teenagers pay attention to you too. If they see that you are overly focused on your own body image and attractiveness they may follow suit. They tend to value what you value.
2. Lead by example – speak openly about the personal attributes that you believe are important. Kindness, intelligence, a sense of humor, etc.
3. Studies have suggested that getting young women involved in activities, sports, volunteer work, and hobbies can have a positive impact on their self-esteem. It’s important that they recognize their own competencies.
4. Compliment your child and give them positive feedback but only when it’s appropriately deserved. Kids who are constantly showered with less than deserved praise do not grow up to have a true appreciation of their own self-worth or that of others.
5. Help your teen to combat negative thinking, stop aiming for perfection, and recognize their own accomplishments.
5. Self-esteem does have a significant impact on how young women relate to the opposite sex and this is an issue that is often a huge worry for parents. Work on the tips mentioned above, talk about how to set good boundaries, keep the lines of communication open, and continue to reinforce your teen’s value, abilities, and worth.