Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Parenting: How to Build Your Teen’s Self Esteem

Parenting Teens: Building Self Esteem

Parenting a teen is hard! During this time in your teenager’s life, they are coping with a lot of change and growth. As a result, your teen might be struggling with self esteem. 

Self esteem issues are not uncommon for teens, but they don’t have to be the norm for you and your child. Today, you will learn some ways that you can positively influence your teen’s self esteem. You will also learn how therapy can help your teen develop a positive self-image. (Related article: Parenting- It’s Not What You Think). parenting

Parenting Plays a Role

It may seem like you don’t have enough of an influence on your teen to improve their self esteem. However, this is not true! Your teen learns emotional skills from watching the people around them. Even if your teen is resistant at first, you can have a positive effect on their self-image through small, consistent interactions during their teen years. (Source).  

Now, let’s talk about what those interactions with your teen will look like in practice.

Set the Example

A great way to encourage your teen’s self esteem is to model good self esteem. By setting an example, you can demonstrate for your teen how good self esteem looks in practice for themselves, too. (Related Article: Parenting Adolescents 101). 

For example, let’s say you forget where you put your keys. You might say out loud “I am so stupid! How could I lose my keys again? This is ridiculous!”. I know I have personally been in this situation and done this exact thing! And that’s understandable- losing your keys is frustrating. However, your teen is listening (no matter how much they might deny it!). As they see you handle stressful and difficult situations, they will learn how to handle their own stress as well. (Related Article: Family Counseling- Parenting Teens). parenting

Now, this time, let’s say that when you lose your keys, you approach the situation with more self-compassion. You might say “oh man, I’ve lost the keys again! It’s okay, we will look for them. I’ve had a stressful day and I must have set them down somewhere without realizing. I’m sure they’re nearby”. You don’t have to praise yourself for losing the keys, but taking a more compassionate and patient approach goes a long way. Especially when teens are watching and learning. (Related article: How to Empower and Validate Your Adolescent Child).

Talk About Your Teen’s Interests 

The way that your teen believes other people perceive them will also influence how their self esteem develops. A simple but effective way to continue improving your teen’s self esteem is to show genuine interest in the hobbies, movies, books, and other topics that your teen finds interesting. Let your teen educate you about something they love. Being actively engaged in conversations with your teen about their passions goes a long way. Taking the time to listen shows them that you care and that their time and interests matter to you. 

Encourage New Interests

In addition to encouraging your teen’s existing interests and hobbies, another great way to encourage self esteem for your teen is to encourage them to try new things they will enjoy. Giving your teen a chance to explore a new hobby or activity can invite them to find new talents and capabilities. parenting

When your teen is trying a new hobby or activity, this is also a great time to try praising them for their efforts and for trying, not just for their talent. Researchers have found that praising your kids for their efforts and not just their abilities helps them to be more confident (Source). Praising effort also helps your kids learn how to maintain good self esteem, even when they fail at something new. 

Think of it this way; if your teen only hears good feedback about their ability, they will believe that their success or failure is based on their capabilities. When they fail at something new, if they have this mindset, they will incorrectly believe that failing at a new task is due to a lack of competence, and not a lack of experience (Source). Praising your child for their efforts can create a growth mindset that encourages them to confidently try new things and develop good self-esteem. 

Therapy Can Help Your Teen’s Self Esteem

Therapy for you and your teen can also help  your child develop confidence. A therapist can help provide parenting guidance and advice that will help you know how to interact with your child in a productive way. (Related article: Emotions 101). And therapy for your teen can help them discover things they love about themselves and encourage good self esteem. Read to find parenting advice and help for your teen? Make an appointment for individual therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork. 


Written by Lauren Adkins


Utah Therapy


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