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Boosting Teen Self-Esteem

Jul 14, 2023


Teenage self-esteem is a critical aspect of overall well-being. It encompasses how teenagers perceive and value themselves, their abilities, and their worthiness of love and respect. When teenagers struggle with low self-esteem, it can manifest in various detrimental ways. They may experience feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, and self-doubt. This can lead to social isolation, difficulty in forming healthy relationships, academic underachievement, and even mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Positive self-esteem is essential for teenagers to develop a strong sense of self, make healthy choices, and build meaningful relationships. 



How can parents foster self-esteem in teens? Here are ways for how to build self-esteem and instill confidence in teens.


1. Encourage Teens to Embrace Individuality

One detrimental habit that significantly impacts teenage self-esteem is the constant act of comparing oneself to others. During the pivotal stage of identity formation, teenagers often find themselves measuring their worth against their peers. 



Encouraging teenagers to recognize and embrace their uniqueness is essential for nurturing a healthy self-image. Instead of fixating on external factors or comparing achievements, we should encourage teenagers to focus on their personal growth and progress. By setting realistic goals and celebrating incremental accomplishments, teenagers can develop a sense of competence and boost their self-esteem.


2. Nurturing Responsible Social Media Usage

The influence of social media on teenage self-esteem is profound, as it often provides a breeding ground for detrimental comparisons. With its carefully curated content, social media perpetuates unrealistic standards, causing teenagers to constantly strive to meet those expectations.


Rather than imposing strict rules, engage teenagers in open discussions about the impact of excessive screen time and social media usage. Help them recognize the negative effects and foster a sense of responsibility. Encourage them to reflect on their own emotions and experiences with social media by asking questions such as:


How does social media make you feel?

Do you feel a compulsion to constantly check it?

Are there specific individuals or accounts that you are fixated on?

Do you experience stress, anxiety, sadness, or anger after scrolling through your feeds?

By highlighting the correlation between their feelings and their screen usage, teenagers can gain a deeper understanding of the impact of social media on their self-esteem.


3. Maintain Active Engagement and Foster Open Communication

As teenagers strive for independence, it is common for parents to perceive their distancing as a signal to step back. While giving teens space is important, it is equally crucial to stay involved in their lives. By remaining engaged, parents convey their care and concern, which may not be apparent to teenagers struggling with their self-worth.



Research has shown that parenting styles significantly impact teen self-esteem. In a study, it was found that adolescents with involved parents, who provided support without excessive control, generally exhibited higher self-esteem compared to their peers with less engaged parents. Effective communication, emotional warmth, and the use of humor in parenting have also been identified as reliable indicators of elevated self-esteem among teenagers.


4. Embrace Unconditional Love and Foster Self-Compassion

Understanding the distinctions among self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-compassion is crucial when supporting teenagers. While self-confidence and self-esteem pertain to how we perceive ourselves and our abilities, teens, amidst the changes of adolescence, may struggle to recognize their own admirable qualities and may experience uncertainty.



When parents exhibit unconditional love and acceptance, they serve as role models for how teenagers should treat themselves and think about their own worth. (Note that unconditional love and acceptance do not equate to approving of everything your teen does, but rather to always being there for them.) By demonstrating genuine love and compassion towards their teenagers, parents facilitate the development of self-compassion, helping teens learn to love and accept themselves unconditionally.



With Love and Gratitude,


Ajay Gupta

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