What is self-esteem? Self-esteem has to do with a person’s opinion of themselves. It’s connected to their sense of identity, belonging in the world, and self-confidence. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs, “I am competent” or “I am worthy,” as well as emotional states such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame.
For teens, self-esteem is especially important, as low self-esteem can be tied to anxiety, depression, poor performance in school, and trouble in relationships. However, it’s possible to boost self-esteem in teens! Learn more about self-esteem activities for teens today and reach out to Ascend for more information about adolescent mental health treatment in California.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem in Teens
If your teen is displaying some of the following signs, it’s possible that their self-esteem is suffering:
- Being bullied at school
- Have few friends or close relationships with others
- Very rarely participate in social activities outside of school hours
- Expressing feelings of worthlessness or inferiority
- Feeling ashamed about something they have done wrong
- Showing emotional indifference
- Negative self-talk
Self-esteem is not something that you simply have or don’t have. People fall on a spectrum of self-esteem that may change from day to day. Many factors can influence self-esteem throughout a person’s lifetime, like their support system, success in school or work, and even physical changes in their looks.
A Support System for Your Teen
Parents, teachers, and peers can have a massive impact on self-esteem for teens. You can encourage better self-esteem by showing that you care about their thoughts and feelings and value their talents and abilities. Their self-esteem will continue to grow as they start to interact with friends outside the home as part of socialization.
How to Boost Self-Esteem in Teens
The best way to improve self-esteem in teens is by allowing them to voice their opinions and feelings in a supportive environment. Encourage your teen to talk positively about themselves, asking open-ended questions and fostering a sense of respect and support between you – rather than treating them as subordinates.
Self-awareness is also a key part of self-esteem. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your values, beliefs, and principles, can help you set realistic goals and prevent negativity due to feelings of inadequacy.
Self-Esteem Activities for Teens
Some simple steps you can take to help your teen’s confidence grow include:
- Giving positive feedback or compliments
- Criticizing your teen in private, never in public
- Giving constructive feedback rather than destructive criticism
- Encouraging your teen to participate in things they enjoy, like sports or hobbies
- Learning about your teen’s point of view, especially if you disagree with them on an issue
More intensive activities to improve self-esteem in teens can also help! Here are examples of a few of our favorites:
- Passion Project: If your teen has an artistic talent, culinary skill, or technical ability they’d like to explore, let them utilize this hobby for self-expression, growth, and stress relief. Passion projects are actually a critical part of residential treatment at Ascend!
- Certificate of Achievement: Have your teen divide their life into three or four sections and then list some of their proudest achievements in each section. Make a certificate out of this chart for them to hang up and serve as a reminder of their successes!
- Positive Goals Diary: Ask your teen to write down a few short-term and long-term goals they have. Make sure they include a section on possible hurdles, as well as strategies to overcome potential problems, to prepare them for what they may face ahead.
- Sentence Completion: Come up with five or six open-ended questions and ask your teen to answer them every day. Compare their answers after a two-week period to see how they’ve changed. Some questions to consider include:
- “The thing I’m most afraid of is…”
- “Today is going to be…”
- “I struggle when…”
- “I feel like my future is…”
All of these self-esteem activities for teens will help them learn to express themselves in a healthy way, confront their feelings and fears, and eventually improve their self-confidence.
Teen Mental Health Treatment at Ascend
At Ascend, we know how low self-esteem in teens can significantly impact their lives. If your child is struggling with their mental health, self-esteem may be part of the problem. With a supportive and inclusive treatment center, your teen can find a place to reset and regain their confidence over the course of a 45-90 day residential treatment program. Learn more about our evidence-based therapies, experiential therapies, and unique clinical approach to decide if this program is right for your teen.