Anyone who lived through their teenage years understands that all sorts of things are happening at the same time. Much of the foundation for what is to come is laid during those years. Adults who want to ensure their teenage children move through those years with a sense of who they are and what they have to offer will need to identify ways to help teens cultivate a sense of self-esteem and keep it going. There are several ways that adults can help teenagers build and maintain self-esteem. Here are some tips that will help.
Truly Listen to What Your Teen Has to Say
There’s hearing words spill out of the mouth of your teen and then there’s listening to what is being said and seeking to understand the meaning behind them. Anyone can hear someone speaking, but it takes serious effort to really listen.
When you choose the latter instead of the former, you send a clear message that what your teen thinks does matter. You don’t have to agree with those thoughts, but the fact that you demonstrate they are worth listening to and discussing in more detail lets your teen know that he or she matters to you. Feeling connected to others goes a long way toward having a sense of self-worth.
Providing Emotional Support in Good Times and Bad
Being a teenager means getting things right sometimes and making mistakes at other times. In either scenario, having emotional support from parents and adults makes a difference. The key is making sure the type of support is geared toward supporting the effort to be a better person.
When a teenager chooses an action that results in bringing about actions that help others as well as self, that should be recognized and praised. The praise must be genuine since teens can usually tell when adults are merely going through the motions and when they really mean what they say. Recognition of taking positive actions provides the teen with confidence and a resolve to seek more ways to make things better.
As mistakes are made, teens will also need emotional support. The goal is not to make the teenager feel like less of a person because of an error. It must be acknowledged, but it must also be utilized as an opportunity to learn and grown. Being there when a teen feels as if they are not worthy of attention, and aiding in the process of assessing the chain of events does not water down the consequences. It’s more likely to help the teen own them, identify better choices in the future, and understand that even people with good intentions make less than ideal choices now and then.
Whatever activity the family is planning, there must always be room for the teenager to be an active participant. It’s more than a matter of the parents deciding where the family will go for vacation this summer. It’s about getting ideas from the kids, discussing them as a family, and coming up with something that sounds good to everyone. Being part of the planning as well as the actual trip helps to build decision-making skills and provides a valuable tool that will serve the teenager well in the years to come.
There are a number of other approaches that professional counselors recommend to help build and maintain self-esteem in teenagers. Learn more about those methods today and see which ones would provide the framework for nurturing and encouraging your teenager. The effort now will pay off a big way in the years to come.