by Brandy Abalos

Adolescence is complex. Teenagers are neither children nor adults. Adults expect them to comply with many rules while also making independent decisions. Adjusting to these expectations and physical and mental changes can cause emotional extremes. Because of this, many teens struggle with maintaining healthy self-esteem. There are some actions parents can take to support their children as they grow and mature.

Stay Available

Teens are known for being reclusive. However, parents should remain available if they change their minds and want to talk. Sometimes they just need to know that loved ones are therefor them, no matter what.

Actively Listen to Them

It’s easy to give advice but much harder to listen to a teen’s problems. Sometimes teenagers need someone who will actively listen. Some self-esteem issues revolve around feelings that no one cares what they have to say. Always allow them to finish speaking before asking questions about what they said.

Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Many teens get caught up in unhealthy lifestyles and habits in these difficult years. They may be trying to fit in by vaping or sitting on the couch playing video games all weekend. The better a teen feels physically, the easier it is for them to maintain healthy self-esteem.

Support Activities That the Teen Enjoys

Encourage teenagers to get involved with extracurricular activities. Any club or organization will provide interaction with others and support from peers. It’s beneficial for parents to interact with those activities as much as possible. Attend games, matches and meets to support them.

Model Positive Behaviors

Although teens often say they don’t want to be like their parents, they watch them closely. Teens pick up on it when their parents have poor self-esteem or talk about others badly. They may also pick up on unhealthy coping strategies like alcohol or smoking cigarettes. Ideally, teens will have positive role models.

Help Them Set Goals

A teen needs something to strive for. They can start with simple, short-term goals. Then, they can work up to more challenging accomplishments. Even if they fail, it is an opportunity to learn about resilience and how to continue to push forward.

Celebrate the Process as Well as Accomplishments

Teens benefit from support as they work towards goals, not only when they succeed. If it takes them longer to achieve some goals, continue encouraging them throughout the process. Even small accomplishments are worth celebrating.

Teens Need Help Discovering Their Values

Healthy teens have a solid understanding of their values. They should explore their feelings about themselves and others to decide what is important. Having healthy self-esteem should be central to those values as well.

They Need to Know Their Parents are Proud of Them

Applaud their efforts and progress, no matter what grade they received or how fast they ran at the track meet. As long as they’re doing their best, they need to know their parents are proud of their efforts. Teens need to feel worthy and valuable no matter what they accomplish.

Delicately Balancing a Teen’s Self-Esteem is Important

Self-esteem is fragile for any teen. However, teens who have good examples and were raised well have a better chance of developing healthy self-esteem. Every teen has ups and downs, but they will continue to build positively with your time and love.