Helping Adolescents with Self-Esteem Problems

Self-esteem problems in adolescents are more common than you might think. Therefore, in this article we offer you some tips that can help you to help your children.
Helping Adolescents with Self-Esteem Problems
Mara Amor López

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Written by Mara Amor López

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Adolescence is a stage of life that can be complicated for our children. There are important physical and psychological changes, which can lead to difficulties. That’s why today, we’re going to tell you how you can help them to get through this crucial stage. Because when they go through crises with accompaniment and with the appropriate guidance and support, they’re better handled. Don’t miss this article on how to help adolescents with self-esteem problems.

How to help adolescents with self-esteem problems

Self-esteem begins to be forged when we’re children and plays a very important role in adolescence.

Without being fully aware, parents and people around the young person contribute to the development of their self-concept. And this happens through the actions, attitudes, or words they have towards them.

Therefore, it’s important to reflect on the messages we give to children and determine if they’re really positive. If they’re not, it’s best to remedy them as soon as possible and improve them.

Here are some tips to put into practice at home or at school to help your teenager with self-esteem problems.

A mother conversing with her teenage son.
Just because your child has grown up doesn’t mean that they no longer need your affection. On the contrary, it gives them security and encourages them to continue on their way.

1. Focus on what they do well and praise them

We often focus on the things kids do wrong, without giving as much importance to the things they do right. It’s key that we praise their dedication and effort, even if the results haven’t been what was expected.

If we only focus on the negative, they’ll understand failure as something bad, and this isn’t the case at all. Thanks to mistakes, we can learn from them and try to do things better the next time.

When we talk to teenagers in a negative way, without valuing their effort and giving them to understand that they’re not worth anything, they’ll end up believing it.

2. Always listen to their opinion

When there is a family decision to be made, always consider everyone’s opinion. Teens need to feel that they’re included in family decisions and by giving them space to have their say, we make them feel taken into account. In turn, this will make them feel respected and treated as another adult in the household.

3. Spend time with them

Although in adolescence, children spend more time with their friends, they also need time with their parents. You can do activities or weekend getaways to improve communication, trust, and even your relationship with them. This will also help them improve their self-esteem.

Of course, the time we spend with our children must be quality time, without interruptions from work or cell phones.

4. Establish clear and consistent rules and limits

If you’ve established rules and limits from an early age, it won’t be difficult to do so now, although they may still try to break them. Limits are very important for the mental health of adolescents, especially for adolescents with self-esteem problems.

Rules serve to give them security and responsibility. Both parents should agree on which ones to follow so that there are no discrepancies or disallowances.

5. Always give constructive criticism

Many times, we think that if we severely criticize our children’s behavior, this will make them do better the next time, but it’s just the opposite.

Also, when it comes to adolescents with self-esteem problems, negative and harsh criticism will worsen the problem. Therefore, we should strive to always give constructive criticism to our children.

Saying things like “What happened with your English test! You had a ton of spelling mistakes. You’re terrible at this” is detrimental. Rather, try something like “although you had some spelling mistakes, you didn’t do so bad. I’m sure if you try a little harder you’ll do better next time. We can practice together”

A teenage girl ignoring her nagging mother.
Negative criticism hurts, but constructive criticism helps us grow and improve. Keep this premise in mind when you reproach your teenager for something, even if he/she doesn’t care about your opinion, it is something transcendental for his/her life.

6. Maintain a good communication

Adolescence is a stage in which the relationship with parents seems to cool down, as friends take the place of privilege and trust. But the reality is that parents are still important at this time of life.

Therefore, it’s crucial to foster good communication and strive to listen to children without judging them, with an open mind, and above all, with patience. This will make them see that they can trust us and that if they need it, we’ll be there for them.

If your communication is based on reproaches, judgments, and criticisms, the only thing we’ll achieve will be increasing the distance that exists between you and your teenager.

7. Encourage their hobbies and interests

If your child has certain interests or passions (such as drawing or sports), it’s a good idea to motivate them to do activities related to this, as they’ll make them feel happy and proud of themselves. In addition, they’ll see themselves as capable and this will feed their self-confidence to improve their self-esteem problems.

About adolescents with self-esteem problems, we can say…

Many adolescents present self-esteem problems, as this stage is complicated and full of changes. We mustn’t forget that this aspect of life is forged from childhood, through the experiences and words we receive from our environment. If early experiences are negative, they’re likely to leave their mark on the development of self-concept.

If a child learns through their experiences that they’re not good, they’ll firmly believe it and this will affect their emotional state and self-esteem in the present and in the future.

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.

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