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How Can You Best Foster Self Esteem in Your Teenager

1). Give them clear rules to follow. All children, no matter what age, respond best to clear instruction. Your teenager may balk or fight over your rules, but this is par for the course. Clear rules communicate the value you have for your child, and when your children know they are valued, this is the first building block of self esteem.

2). Balance out criticism with appropriate acknowledgements. When your child does something well, say so. Acknowledge their skills, talents or abilities, and be sure to pay attention to the positives rather than only the negatives.

3). Let them make some of their own decisions. Teenagers learn good decision-making by actually making decisions. Allow them to make decisions with your guidance. Ask them to share their lines of thinking with you and their reasoning. Help them see where their reasoning or judgment might be better.

4). Keep in regular contact with them. Although teenagers are likely to be self-centered and self focused, be sure to talk to them anyway. Ask about their day, find out what they are feeling, and share information about your day and your feelings too. No matter how much your teenager wants to isolate or disconnect from the family, work to keep them engaged and involved.

5). Be proud of your teenager, and tell them so. When your child accomplishes a goal or is awarded an honor, take the extra step to let him or her know how proud you are. Words make a huge difference; don’t just assume that they already know.

6). Support your child during a conflict. When your child is in conflict with another, find a way to support his/her viewpoint while maintaining your personal integrity. Your child will not always be right; but he or she will not always be wrong. Being supportive of your child during conflict provides a strong foundation for meeting all kinds of challenges.

7). Examine your own self esteem and feelings of limitation. If you have struggled with your own self esteem, take care not to impose these same struggles on your child. Children are very susceptible to absorbing their parent’s opinions and belief systems, so take care not to impose your own negative beliefs on your child.

8). Be consistent. If you want to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child (and you probably do), be consistent with your rules and your approach. It doesn’t matter so much what the rules are. It matters more that the rules are always the rules. Don’t criticize your child for something one day and praise him for it the next. Children don’t gain self esteem in the face of constant change.

9). Remind your child of your support. It’s like the old saying, “give them roots to ground them, but wings to fly”. Let them know you are there to help them whenever they need it. Again, this feeling of support and constancy will help them become more confident in the world.

10). Finally, celebrate their uniqueness. Every parent has cherished dreams and goals for their child. This doesn’t mean that the child will want those same dreams and goals for him or herself. When there is a gap between desires and reality, you, as a parent, must bridge that space by letting go of what you desired and truly, deeply loving who your child is.