Thinking back to your teenage years, what do you remember most? Is it the extracurriculars, sports, socialization, and a more carefree life style? Or is it the stress, constant comparison and mean names you were called?
Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for teens to maintain good self-esteem. Even if you were never bullied by your peers, there can be a constant battle with comparison that teens play. “Teens are constantly comparing themselves to others,” says Sarah Saysoukha, Prevention Specialist for Centerstone. “Social media has heightened this even more. Social media only shows a highlight reel of people’s lives, but seeing these highlights all the time can make you feel like you are uninteresting. It’s hard to keep up.” When teens spend time comparing themselves to others, they spend time focusing on the things they don’t like about themselves and the things they do like about others.
Beyond comparison, there are several other factors that contribute to low self-esteem for teens. Familial abuse or neglect can majorly lower one’s self-esteem. “Having a trusted adult or family member helps teens feel supported,” says Amanda McGeshick, Program Manager for Centerstone. “Therefore lacking this crucial support system also contributes to lower self-esteem, even with no history of abuse.” Other factors that can lower self-esteem are poor body image, being discriminated against because of identities you hold, bullying and mental health challenges.
Having good self-esteem helps teens in every realm of their lives. Teens with high self-esteem are able to build better relationships, set helpful boundaries, exercise self-care and make healthy decisions.
Support from trusted adults, whether family or not, is one of the biggest contributors to high self-esteem in teenagers. You reading this article is a great first step and shows that you are ready to support the teens in your life. Here are some more practical ways to help teens build self-esteem:
If you have a teen in your life who needs extra support, Centerstone is here to help. Call us at 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123) or visit centerstone.org/connect-with-us/ to get connected with care.
If you are in crisis, please call our crisis line, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.
If you're still having trouble and would like to reach out to someone about counseling or other Centerstone services, contact us.
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