Tips for improving your teenage child’s self esteem
In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to navigate the shift from childhood to adolescence.
Along with the challenges we all faced growing up, teenagers are now exposed to a huge amount of content online that can feed insecurities.
From Instagram filters that completely alter a person's face to the sheer amount of pro-surgey content in TikTok and other apps, it is no surprise that we are in the midst of a self-esteem crisis.
Parents can play a crucial role in helping to equip young people with the tools necessary to ensure that their child is able to manage the pressures of an increasingly aesthetically driven world. While this is not easy, below we share some tips to help improve your teenage child’s self-esteem:
Help them curate their social media feeds
Concerns surrounding the impact of social media on young people is well documented, with platforms such as TikTok often plagued by content that negatively affects their users' mental health and body image. To help combat this, it is really important that your child is mindful of the way their social feeds make them feel.
If they feel worse about themself after scrolling, ask them to have a think about refreshing the accounts they follow. It can be really easy to end up with a feed filled with heavily filtered images, influencers with seemingly perfect lives and content that feeds personal insecurities.
By being aware of the kind of content that triggers negative thoughts about themselves, young people can take ownership of their social media feeds and curate content that appeals to their personal interests and hobbies.
For all its shortcomings, social media can be a great place to engage with interesting and hyper-specific content that appeals to your personal interests.
Try to model a healthy self-image
There is a lot of discussion about how damaging online content can be for young people, but it is important to remember that a lot of behaviour is learnt from those around us. Whilst it can be difficult, being mindful of how you speak about yourself can be an important tool in helping to model a healthy self image for your child.
Similarly, positive reinforcement and compliments about non-physical attributes can play a vital role in making teens feel better about themselves and ultimately improve their self-esteem.
Challenge stereotypes and self-deprecating views
Talking openly about stereotypes and the negative impact they can have on a person's self-worth can be a really good way to improve your child's self-esteem.
Letting them know that it is OK to not fit neatly within preconceived stereotypes - both in terms of how they need to look and act - is really important and can make your teenager feel seen and accepted.
Similarly, if your child ever expresses negative feelings about themselves or talks in a self-deprecating way - no matter how jovial - try and get them to reflect on why they feel that way. Often, when these comments are not challenged, this narrative can get entrenched and further damage a young person's self-worth.
Give them more responsibility
Giving young people additional responsibilities and freedom can be a great way to bolster their self-esteem.
An important aspect of self-worth is feeling valued and trusted. By asking for your child to help with something new or trusting them to make their own decisions, you are showing them that you believe they’re capable and have confidence in their abilities.
By finding areas they excel in or nurturing the desire to try new things, you are helping to build a young person's confidence, and this will ultimately filter into other areas of their life.