In part one of our self-esteem series we learned what self-esteem is, causes of low self-esteem and signs of low self-esteem. (If you haven’t read part one yet, click here to read it.) In part two we’re going to dig into five ways you can help improve a teen’s self-esteem.
It’s not always easy to determine if a teen is struggling with low self-esteem. It’s highly unlikely a teen will seek out an adult and say, “I am struggling with low self-esteem and need help”. Although you may not know for certain if a teen is struggling, there are a few things we as parents, educators, coaches and role models can consciously do to help.
- Focus on Effort
Shift the focus from the end result to the effort made. Instead of congratulating a teen on receiving a good grade, concentrate on the hard work it took to get that grade. For example, “Wow you worked really hard to get that mark. You must be so proud of yourself”. By doing this you will help a teen learn that with effort and perseverance they can always improve. Secondly, this statement directs the teen’s focus to being proud of themselves. This will help lower their need to depend on others for approval in the future.
- Make Mistakes a Good Thing
A teen is going to make mistakes. Focusing on what they did wrong will only make them feel like they are being judged. Instead ask questions about what they learned from the mistake; what they could do differently next time to receive the desired outcome. This helps lead the teen to the answer which in turn builds their self-confidence.
- Be Encouraging
Giving out encouragement can really help build a teens self-esteem. This doesn’t mean complimenting them on their good looks or being smart. Rather it means focusing on the action or deed accomplished. For example, “Wow you have been working really hard practicing soccer. I can see the improvement every game!”.
- Help Set Goals
Goals can often feel very overwhelming for someone struggling with low self-esteem. Help a teen by breaking their end goal into smaller, actionable items they can achieve each day/week/month that will move them one step closer to their goal.
- Encourage Positive Self-Worth
Introduce a teen to the idea of positive self-worth. Discuss what self-worth is, ideas to promote self-worth, and steps to lesson peer comparison. The previous four points all contribute to encouraging self-worth in a teen.
These are just five ways you can help improve a teen’s self-esteem. There are numerous other ways to help a teen, including programs, like MakeYouThink, that encourage the development of fundamental life skills.
We hope this self-esteem blog series has helped you feel more prepared for recognizing the signs of low self-esteem and what steps you can take to help. If you have any questions about how the MakeYouThink Life Skills program can help, please contact us to learn more.