May is National Teen Self Esteem Month and is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of ensuring our teens are self aware and feel confident about themselves. The effect that their self esteem has on their physical and mental well being is of paramount importance and a crucial focus of the awareness month.
The teenage years are a notoriously difficult time for the majority of young people and therefore this is a fantastic way of checking in and ensuring we are doing everything that we can to support and nurture the teens in our lives- be it family or friends. On top of the physical, hormonal and emotional changes going on, teens also have to contend with the added pressures of the current pandemic, social changes, new relationships, increased educational expectations, peer pressure and impossible societal standards perpetuated by the media, society and often parents.
Self esteem is often easily damaged and difficult to repair, so with the added complication of being a teenager it is highly understandable that teenagers can be particularly fragile.
More young people are seeking counselling to help them deal with low self-esteem and loneliness, according to new figures from ChildLine.
ChildLine reports an increase of 10% in counselling sessions for young people dealing with low self-esteem between April 2020 and January 2021. That’s over 50,000 counselling sessions.
The young people surveyed said that the internet had an ever-growing influence on their lives. Many said constant comparisons to others on social media made them feeling inferior, ugly and unpopular.
Despite the pressures from the internet, the study shows that young people are also using online options more and more when it comes to getting help.
There are many ways that we can engage more positively with teenagers and the character of the individual young person may respond more effectively to particular expertise and knowledge, however there are some really simple ways in which we can promote positive self esteem. And these tips aren’t restricted to assisting only teenagers. Perhaps we could all make use of them:
Lead by example
• Avoid negative self talk and criticism.
• Ensure you have open lines of communication – and if you don’t, get advice on how to create this.
• Ensure you can be trusted
• Guide and advise encouraging their own decision making within reasonable parameters.
• Give them space
• Listen and take an interest in their developing lives.
Sometimes just a chat and some special time with your teen is enough to encourage and strengthen their self esteem.
For more help and advice on supporting teenagers visit: