Parenting teenagers is one of the trickiest parts of your parenting journey. It may seem at times like your teen is on a different planet than you, and you’re not sure how to reach them. If your child is dealing with poor self-esteem, what can you do to help?
Read on for five easy ways to help increase your teen’s self-esteem.
1. Support Their Style Choices
Teenagers are often going through a period of uncertainty while they learn who they are. This uncertainty can cause confusion about their personal style, which may change frequently.
Some common ways to be more supportive of your child’s style choices include:
- Helping them pick out clothes at their favorite clothing store
- Supporting their desires to dye their hair or wear certain appropriate accessories
- Allowing them to define their own wardrobe, even if it changes
Being open to learning who your child is and what they like is essential to becoming closer to them. Children are known to hide things when they are restricted from being themselves. Self-esteem can improve drastically when teens feel comfortable in their clothing.
2. Offer to Hear Their Concerns
Communicating with your teenage child may feel impossible at times. It’s essential to try to remember when you were a teenager and what you needed more of from your parents. Remember that generations all have their own social norms, and your child may have different values than you once had.
Offer to be a non-judgmental sounding board for your child. Let them express their frustrations with school, homework, and friendships. Let them know that they’ll always have a safe space to come home to at the end of the day.
Studies show that a lack of conversational confidence with parents can lessen self-esteem in teenagers, so it’s essential to be open with your child.
3. Encourage Them to Follow Their Passions
Every teenager explores who they want to be when they grow up. School gives them the opportunity to try out different areas of art, sports, and academia. When you notice your child is leaning towards one thing or another, always support them.
For example, if your child has shown an interest in drama, sign them up for drama club. Go to all their performances and bring flowers at the end to award them, regardless of what role they played.
If your child is in choir, band, or orchestra, attend all of their concerts and make sure they can see you from the stands. Being there for your child’s passions will show them that they have someone who supports them, which can make all the difference in self-esteem.
4. Stay Updated on Their School and Personal Life
There’s nothing that can make a child feel more loved than being present in their life. When your child has academic achievements, they’ll naturally want to come to you to let you know. Despite what they might think, teenagers crave connection with their parents.
Stay updated on your child’s life by:
- Asking them about their day at school every day
- Asking about any tests and offering homework help
- Asking about their friends and if they’re dating
- Offering advice on common social topics that teenagers may struggle with
If your child is struggling in school, offer more one-on-one support, or help them by hiring a tutor. Make it known that you’ll do whatever you can to help them through their tough spots.
5. Give Positive Feedback When Possible
Always give your teen extensive positive feedback when they do well at something. Multiple studies have shown that being given positive feedback often increases self-esteem and the desire to do well in school.
You can make your child feel supported by:
- Telling them that you love them
- Complimenting their homework or participation at school
- Rewarding them for good grades and participation
Take your child out for ice cream after a school concert or event or offer them a special dinner when they get an A in a class. Small rewards make all the difference in a teen’s life.
About the Author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.