One of the most important things a parent can do is to empower their teenager with a healthy dose of self confidence so that they can feel good about themselves. “Having a sense of strong self esteem is imperative if you want your child to do well in the world” says Dr. Sam Miller, a psychologist who offers teen counseling. “It’s important that they begin to learn how they can contribute to the world in a positive way so they can see themselves as holding value”.
Here are six tips you might want to consider:
1. Offer guidance
Teenagers who find mastering a skill difficult may feel they cannot make it or may feel they are failures. A teen may decide they are not smart because he or she has a math problem. Or a teen may feel they are bad at sports because they failed to make a team.
You can help boost your teen’s self-image when you encourage them to accept their failures and take the necessary steps to improve on that skill and become better. Make sure you help your teenager strive to become better while he/she is struggling academically instead of labelling him or her as “dumb” or “stupid.”
2. Watch what you say to your teen
Words go a long way, that’s why you need to be mindful of what you say to your teen(s). Do not punish, criticize or bribe your teenager about his/her weight. The outcome can be dreadful, especially if he/she controls their environment with food. Children who feel awful about their weight can easily develop an unhealthy eating habit, like under-eating, over-eating or binging and purging.
3. Lead by example
If you want your kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle, then lead by example. Select healthy foods for them and also join them in exercise. You can influence your kids by modeling healthy behaviors. You don’t have to make a big pronouncement; your kids will adjust quickly to this new lifestyle without noticing you are the one calling the shots.
4. Know what your teenager is watching
Your teens need to learn how to balance their perspective of the perfect bodies they see in the media with reality. A study by the Boston Children’s Hospital has shown that teenagers who wants to look like models they see in health and fashion magazines were prone to use potentially harmful substances more regularly than their peers, including protein shakes and powders, weight loss drinks, growth hormones, and steroids. So make sure you take the time to teach your child that what they see on TV and social media is not real.
5. Acknowledge your teen for who they are
Respect your kids personality and acknowledge them for who they are. You should be concerned about their health, and not their weight. Instead of saying things about your teen’s appearance, compliment them on their talents and what they have accomplished. You can also compliment your child based on the choices they make.
6. Build a healthy foundation around healthy confidence
If your teen feels great about themselves only when they look good in clothes or when they get a lot of likes and comments on social media, then he or she will find it difficult to maintain their confidence when they are faced with situations that don’t suit their needs. An individual will eventually lose confidence if their self-worth is based on external circumstances, superficial things or other people’s opinion.
You have to step in and help your teenager build a strong foundation for his/her self-worth. Lay emphasis on your values and teach your teen that living according to those values reflects genuine self-worth. For instance, help your teen understand that being kind and caring is more important than being attractive or getting attention for your looks.