It'll Aid Self-Esteem to Talk to Your Teens

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), December 28, 2002 | Go to article overview

It'll Aid Self-Esteem to Talk to Your Teens


Byline: Birth To Three by Mary Gossart For The Register-Guard

DON'T BE FOOLED by the adultlike packaging or independence of your high school student. In later adolescence, hormones move toward equilibrium, self-concept gains more solid ground and maturity seems possible after all!

Appreciate the progress, and remember that high school students are still in the thick of adolescence.

There are fluctuations - one day self-assured, insightful, responsible; the next, childish, self-centered, temperamental. These flip-flops cause confusion and frustration for all.

Add to this the pressures, expectations, unknowns of the high school years - you see how your teen-ager's self-esteem might need repairs.

The powerful influence of self-concept cannot be overstated. Teens who feel good about themselves are more likely to make positive decisions - about school, friends, relationships, sex, drugs - whatever! The parent's role in nurturing a child's self-esteem is critical.

This is not about pumping up your kids or heaping empty praise on them. It's not about comparing your child to others: "I think you're better than ... " This level of support won't serve to build true self-esteem.

To be of real assistance, help your child acknowledge personal value, abilities and strengths.

Ask your teen to complete the following: "I like myself because ... " He or she then is to talk for a full minute, listing as many reasons as he or she can. Then, you feed back what you heard: "You like yourself because ... '

Don't be surprised if your teen feels self-conscious or runs out of things to say before time is up. You may find yourself prompting, even adding items not mentioned by your child. They may be qualities you value in your child that he or she overlooks or doesn't believe are so.

Discuss why self acknowledgment and appreciation is uncomfortable and why it is so important. …

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