Low self-esteem in teenagers is a common problem. Your teen is dealing with numerous emotional and physical changes. The urge to fit in with their peers is very strong, and any perceived rejection by friends or classmates leads to
• Feeling that they don’t fit in to a particular crowd
• Shame because they don’t excel in academics or sports
• Sibling rivalry
• Hormonal mood swings
Changes in their bodies and their own inability to control their emotions can make a teen feel confused and scared.
The most important thing you can offer your teen is a willing ear. Encourage your teen to share his or her concerns and struggles with you. This doesn’t mean your teen will always be receptive to communication, but knowing you are available is very important, even if your teen doesn’t express that. Offer encouragement and praise whenever possible. Point out their strengths in moments of self-doubt. Remind them how important they are to you.
Also remember to set an example of good self-esteem. Your teen should see you coping with life and not putting yourself down.
For most teens, adolescent struggles will come with years of turbulence, then will pass on their own as your teen begins to carve out an identity and
For other teens, things get worse, not better.
The teen years are going to be difficult no matter what, but there are some things a parent should notice and take action on. Low self-esteem in teenagers can lead to bigger problems, such as experimenting with drugs, alcohol, or sexual activity. Eating disorders are another inappropriate coping mechanism for teens with self-esteem problems. Adolescent suicide can and does happen. Don’t put your head in the sand if your teen exhibits very troubling behavior.
Here are some warning signs for parents:
• sleeping all the time, lack of energy and motivation
• sudden drop in grades or interest in academics
• neglecting their personal appearance
• slurred speech
• skipping meals or binge eating, leading to sudden weight loss or weight gain