6 Self-Esteem Issues in Adolescents

6 Self-Esteem Issues in Adolescents

Last update: 21 August, 2018

Self-esteem issues are unfortunately quite common among adolescents and can greatly affect their quality of life.

Self-esteem is considered to be one of the main keys to success in life at any age. But developing a positive self-image and healthy self-esteem is particularly important for teenagers.

Low self-esteem can be extremely difficult in adolescence, as it is a time when young people are exposed to new experiences and personal relationships, such as starting high school or their first summer jobs.

Consequently, self-esteem issues are associated with a series of psychological, physical and social consequences. These can influence developmental success in adolescence and the transition into adulthood, even leading to disorders such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders.

Studies state that low self-esteem is associated with a series of modifiable risk factors, such as obesity, TV time or school performance. All of these aspects must be discussed among parents and adolescents to guarantee their well-being.

6 Self-esteem issues in adolescents

These are some of the most frequent self-esteem issues in adolescents:

1. Unable to meet their objectives

Adolescents with self-esteem issues have difficulties achieving set objectives. Responsibilities have a direct effect on self-esteem. Not being able to handle or meet certain objectives directly affects their perception of themselves.

In fact, adolescence is a stage in which young people must learn to overcome the obstacles and the frustration caused by not achieving something. Similarly, a negative attitude doesn’t contribute in any way to one’s ability to meet objectives.

6 Self-Esteem Issues in Adolescents

2. Comparisons

The second self-esteem issue comes from making comparisons. Comparing oneself is one of the most common mistakes that teenagers make and that contributes the most to undermining their morale and self-esteem.

Unfortunately, comparisons are constant in the process of personal fulfillment and growth. Adolescents base many of their thoughts around constant comparison. Comparisons are not rational, because each person is different, with his or her particular qualities and flaws.

3. Low motivation

Adolescence is a complicated and sensitive period. Many teenagers find that their motivation to pursue excellence is seriously compromised by the physical, emotional, social or neurological obstacles that can happen at this stage.

Certainly, there is also a high incidence of motivational difficulties among adolescents. This lack of motivation can translate into apathy, fatigue, inactivity, non-compliance, low academic performance or social isolation.

When you are different, you often do not see the millions of people who accept themselves for who they are. Only the person who does not do it is noticed.

–Jodi Picoult–

4. Constant concerns

Low self-esteem causes teenagers to have many concerns in their heads about issues that don’t necessarily deserve special attention. 

Concerns are part of life, although they amplify and feed negative thoughts and insecurities, and can cause us to become blocked and not reach our objectives.

5. Difficulty relating to others

Social difficulties tend to be attributed to shyness, yet they can also be due to a lack of self-esteem.

In fact, adolescents with low self-esteem often have communication problems and feel afraid or ashamed to express their opinions. Also, a fear of not feeling accepted hinders relationships with other adolescents.

6. Feeling of inferiority

A feeling of inferiority develops out of a tendency to want to be better than others. This tendency is so overwhelming that as soon as there is an obstacle that stands between the person and his or her needs, the adolescent begins to feel inferior.

6 Self-Esteem Issues in Adolescents

Signs of self-esteem issues in adolescents

A teenager with low self-esteem will probably have negative thoughts about his individual worth. These are the general signs that show a state of low self-esteem:

  • Avoiding trying new things 
  • Not feeling loved or wanted
  • Blaming others for their own deficiencies
  • Showing emotional indifference
  • Having an inability to tolerate normal levels of frustration
  • Engaging in negative self-talk and constantly comparing themselves to others
  • Having a persistent fear of failure or shame
  • Having difficulty making new friends
  • Having low levels of motivation and interest

Finally, remember that self-esteem issues in adolescents are characterized by a lack of self-confidence in their abilities. As a parent, if you detect that your child has low self-esteem, the most important thing is to try to listen to how he feels, as well as provide positive comments to increase his confidence.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Iglesias Diz, J. L. (2013). Desarrollo del adolescente: Aspectos físicos, psicológicos y sociales. Pediatria Integral.
  • Hurlock, E. (1995). Psicología de la adolescencia. Psicología de la adolescencia.
  • Naranjo, C. R., & González, A. C. (2012). Autoestima en la adolescencia: Análisis y estrategias de intervención. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy.
  • Roa, A. (1982). La adolescencia. Revista Chilena de Pediatria.
  • Silva-Escorcia, I., & Mejía-Pérez, O. (2014). Autoestima, adolescencia y pedagogía. Revista Electrónica Educare. https://doi.org/10.15359/ree.19-1.13

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.