Halstrom Blog Post
Teen Self-Esteem and Resilience
By Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT, BCPC
The teen years are so complicated these days. Our kids’ heads are spinning from all that they do and all that they have to monitor on social media and we parents have no idea about 90% of that world! Are they healthy, are they happy, are they respectful, are others being respectful to them? Who knows? So how do we know how they feel about themselves?
Our kids give us clues every day about how they are doing. Are they happy, social, responsible, productive…? Those are typically pretty good signs that things are good or even better. Does your teen approach scary things like conflict, getting a job or a challenging school project with confidence? Again, a pretty good sign. On the other hand, does your teen spend a lot of time playing video games, spending time alone behind a closed door, and act surly toward the family? These may be signs that your child is struggling in some way and may need some intervention.
Contrary to what many parents believe, self-esteem doesn’t come from telling our kids that they are terrific, praising them and telling them how much we love them. Teens probably don’t want to hear it from you too much these days (unless it’s on their terms, right?) Self-esteem actually comes from doing stuff; from having a sense of accomplishment. It’s not about successes; it’s actually the attempts that matter. We want to create opportunities for our kids to be able to struggle, struggle, struggle and then say, “I DID IT!!!”
The more our kids are asked to do for themselves, the better they feel about themselves. We have to prepare our kids for a life without us micromanaging things for them. The older your child gets, the less involved in the day to day stuff you should be. Maintain a loving connection and a supportive tone, but give them the space to get frustrated, to fail and to pick themselves back up and say, “I DID IT!”
Copyright 2015, Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT, Balanced Parenting, www.BalancedParenting.com