By Marli Naidoo
Adolescence can be an uncertain and strange time for teenagers, and 50% of adolescents will experience a strong decline in self-image and self-assurance.
Your teenager will however not tell you that he does not feel self-assured. You have to be on the lookout for signs.
A teenager with a low self-image will usually walk with his eyes cast down, not look people in the eye when they speak to him, possibly not be sociable, talk about himself negatively, or apologise too often because he feels everything is his fault. The opposite behaviour can also testify to a poor self-image: A teenager who uses dramatic hand gestures, communicates extremely loudly or aggressively, gossips and treats others badly and likes to boast.
There are different possible reasons for a low self-image in teenagers. They may be struggling to make peace with physical changes, expect of themselves to make better decision, feel they aren’t performing well enough, and in general allow negative thoughts to dominate.
You can help your teenager to grow emotionally and improve his self-image in the following ways:
Focus on effort and achievement, and not on perfection. Help your teenager to focus on the hard work he is doing, and not on coming first in everything. Mistakes must be seen as opportunities to grow and hard work as an achievement in itself.
Teach your teenager to use positive self-speech. Changing his negative thoughts into positive messages to himself will achieve wonders for his self-image. He must tell himself that he is good enough, his hard work will bear fruit, that he can.
Encourage your teenager to try new things and make new friends.
Help your teenager to set goals and take steps to achieve them. It is an acquired process which can help a teenager with a low self-image to feel better about himself.
Help him to understand his emotions, that he will not always feel the way he is feeling now, and that the teen years can be confusing.
Give him the unconditional love and acceptance you wish him to have for himself.
Understanding Teenagers: https://understandingteenagers.com.au/10-signs-of-low-self-esteem-in-teenagers/
Tender Hearts Child Therapy Centre: https://tenderheartschildtherapycenter.com/tips-helping-teenager-low-self-esteem/
Stop Medicine Abuse: https://stopmedicineabuse.org/blog/details/3-causes-of-low-self-esteem-in-teens-and-what-to-do-about-it/