Encountering a teenager with low self-esteem can be heartbreaking. It’s especially heartbreaking if it’s your own teen. One of the top things that can contribute to depression and anxiety in teenagers is low self-worth. In this blog post, I am going to discuss practical ways you can help a teenager with low self-esteem.
A negative self-view comes from negative thought patterns about oneself. A teenager with low self-esteem might worry about their weight, appearance, grades or perceived intellect. Given that there are a variety of issues that a teenager might struggle with, helping to normalize the experience is a must. Letting teenagers know that they are not alone is one of the biggest bits of help in my practice. I often provide them education surrounding the stats of how many teens struggle with negative self-talk and perception. A great place to start is dosomething.org.
Listen and Reflect:
Another way to help teens with low self-esteem is to simply validate how they are feeling. Often times teens feel as if they are completely isolated, that no one knows what they are experiencing. Simply validating their struggles ( not the negative thinking but their experiences) can be a refreshing thing. Empathy goes a long way with teenagers. Letting them know that you are listening by saying things like “It sounds like you feel alone” or “It must be really hard to feel left out.”
Offer to get them help:
Sometimes you can’t be the person to give them the help they need. Sometimes the ear they need is yours and the practical help they need is from a professional. Offer to help them by finding a professional, like me, to help them with their self-esteem.
Give them positive affirmations. When they aren’t expecting it affirms them. Tell them, unprompted you are proud of them, tell them they look great today.
If a teen says something like “I look so fat in this” don’t simply brush it off by saying things like “Stop saying things like that.” This isn’t helpful to someone with low self-esteem. If anything it only makes them feel like they can’t come to you with their insecurities about their body, or grades or whatever they are struggling with.
Allow the pattern to go on too long unchecked:
Most times if a teen is starting to vocalize their low self-esteem out loud, they have been dealing with it for much longer in their head. Hit it head on from there and don’t let it spiral out of control.
This isn’t the end all, be all list of how to help a teen with low self-esteem but it’s a good starting place. If you know a teen or have a teen that struggles with self-esteem, in the Vancouver WA area, don’t hesitate to go to www.teencounselingwa.com/contact and make an appointment today!