Self-Esteem Curriculum

A self-esteem curriculum can be the key to effectively helping teens and adolescents suffering from low self-esteem to raise their view of themselves to an acceptable level. A good curriculum will endeavor to teach teens coping and social skills. By changing negative thoughts into positive ones, they can improve their self image and be comfortable with who they are.

A simple self-esteem curriculum can be covered in four one and a half hour segments over the course of a one day workshop, and hit all the major points. More involved ones can take a week or more, and cover such topics as substance abuse, sexuality, eating disorders, shyness , anger, and other problematic scenarios as appropriate for the specific group.

The basics, however, stay the same - students should learn that they are in control of their own self-esteem, and they can control their reaction to outward stimulus. They can even focus in providing themselves with positive input if it is not forthcoming from other sources - by learning to be their own cheerleader in the absence of parental support; by using affirmations to counteract negativity showered on them by peers or adults; and by acknowledging that they are worthy of respect and claiming that respect first and foremost from themselves.

The four most basic points to emphasize in any self-esteem curriculum are:

A) Self description. A sample of this type of exercise would be to ask each student to describe themselves honestly using ten different words. Next, ask them to repeat the exercise, but all of the words must be positive. Then ask them to compare the lists to each other. Most students will see a difference between the two, ask them which list makes them feel more self confident.

B) Self-esteem. Students can be introduced to more exercises to increase their self-esteem; activities that use teamwork, role playing and other interactive models are the best. Practice verbalizing praise and encouragement between students.

C) Self image. Students should participate in finding good things to focus on, and being grateful for the attributes they have. Let them know that they have the power over changing negative thoughts into good ones, and that anytime they experience negativity they can refer to their list and get back to a balanced view of themselves.

D) Self confidence. This is a great opportunity to encourage hands on activities that are simple and rewarding such as gardening or spending time with animals. The benefits of this type of curricular activities has been proven to increase self-esteem and self confidence

When a curriculum is developed to address these four points, the result is a well rounded start to assisting emotional development and self-esteem. The ability to deal with the turbulent teen emotions can be a lifesaver for an adolescents suffering from low self-esteem and can lay the groundwork for a better self image and a healthier emotional state. Any self-esteem building workshop should have such a curriculum clearly defined as a benchmark for the therapy.

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