Adolescence is a time of change and transition for both young people and the adults in charge. It is during this phase of life that one’s identity is formed and, consequently, self-esteem is a conditioning factor in the way in which this evolution is experienced.
In this article we will talk about self-esteem problems in adolescence and how we can prevent them from the home or circles around them.
Self-esteem and adolescents
If anything characterizes the adolescent stage, it is its complexity. The passage from childhood to adulthood is accompanied by great changes at all levels: personal, social, family and academic.
How a teenager copes with and resolves these changes will be highly conditioned by his or her self-esteem. It will play an important role in managing these events as well as being affected by how they are managed.
It is a time when young people experience a great need to be attractive to others and to be socially accepted, so interpersonal relationships play an enormous role in the formation of self-concept.
Being part of a clan or social group is essential for the formation of one’s identity, and therefore will have a direct impact on the level of self-esteem of the adolescent.
The construction of one’s own identity
It is at this same stage that the degree of self-esteem a person possesses can condition, both positively and negatively, the relationships with others . That is, a young person with low self-esteem will be more likely to experience a series of difficulties in terms of using his or her social skills; on the other hand, an adolescent with high self-esteem has a confidence that facilitates his or her relations with others.
It is common that during the period of adolescence, the self-esteem of both boys and girls is not excessively high, since any event, however tiny it may seem from the outside, can significantly alter it.
Any physical trait or condition that may be perceived as unattractive or unattractive, such as body hair or acne, as well as the feeling of not being accepted or understood, is capable of deeply undermining the quality of a young person’s self-esteem.
As a consequence, may affect the construction of one’s identity , since it occurs throughout adolescence. A young person with low or fragile self-esteem may be afraid to show himself as he is, since the fear of rejection is always present at this stage. Therefore, it is very likely that he or she will forge a first identity according to the pressures or expectations of other peers.
Preventing self-esteem problems in adolescence
Although the development of self-esteem is a personal job that the adolescent must do on his own, from home a series of techniques or tactics can be carried out to help him and pave the way towards building self-esteem.
Below, we provide a series of tips or recommendations for those parents, relatives or friends who do not know how to help adolescents improve their self-esteem .
Ensure that the home is a safe environment
Because of the need for acceptance, the adolescent may experience great insecurity in certain settings such as school or high school and the group of friends. Therefore, it is necessary for him to perceive that, at least in his home, he has the security he needs.
The home should become a space of trust , in which the person can perceive that he/she is appreciated as he/she is. Communication in the home should be fluid and secure. That is, the adolescent should know that he or she can share his or her feelings without being judged.
Therefore, the mission of those living under the same roof as the adolescent is to create a safe and appropriate environment that facilitates communication .
2. Honest and natural communication
Just as important is the amount of communication between family members, as the quality of this communication. Through these exchanges of personal information, the adolescent will be able to perceive his family as a trusted support and resource.
Active listening, patience and correct advice , are key to help strengthen the self-esteem of young people.
Although it is common that during this stage young people tend to reject the advice of their parents, it is necessary that they know how to gain the trust of their children and that the advice does not acquire a mandatory tone, but is natural and spontaneous.
3. Praise and compliment
It is an unconscious mistake but quite common not to praise or congratulate others every time they achieve something or do something well. In addition to praising achievements, it is also necessary to praise efforts made despite not having achieved something .
Adolescence is a time when many mistakes are made. However, they cannot overshadow other achievements or efforts to achieve their own goals.
It is difficult for the adolescent to feel that their parents are really happy with them and sometimes they may perceive these compliments as false. To avoid this, praise should be given at the right time and in proportion to the effort or goal achieved .
4. Criticism, always constructive
In cases where the teenager makes a mistake or it is necessary to make a judgment about his or her behavior, criticism can be used. But always from a constructive point of view and never in an offensive or outrageous way .
The teenager needs to know what he or she has done wrong, as well as why the criticism is being made and how he or she can improve. Making a negative criticism or judgment without foundation or explanation will only lead to lowered self-esteem.
5. Setting limits and rules
The establishment of norms and rules at home encourages the development of a sense of responsibility and consequently increases and strengthens self-esteem. However, it is necessary that these rules are realistic and flexible , otherwise they may lead to more conflict at home.
6. Always consider the adolescent’s opinion
The need to feel integrated is also transferred to the family environment. Including the adolescent’s opinion in household decisions will make him feel that he is part of something and he will perceive that it is important for the family dynamic.
Teenagers enjoy being treated like adults, so asking for their opinion or suggestions will be a compliment that will have a positive impact on their self-esteem.
7. Stimulate interests and hobbies
Supporting your child’s interests, hobbies or interests, as well as stimulating non-regulated activities outside of school, is extremely important for the development of self-esteem.
A teenager who perceives that his parents support him in what he likes is much more likely to achieve satisfactory results and succeed in what he likes. This will strengthen his self-esteem and promote his own acceptance.
8. Advice on personal care and hygiene
If there is something that characterizes the time of adolescence it is the hormonal changes and the consequences these have on the body . This, together with the concern they often have for their personal appearance can cause great headaches for them.
Therefore, advising in a cautious and delicate way about body hygiene, cleanliness and clothing will be extremely useful to them, they will feel more confident and will strengthen their self-esteem.