Self-esteem seems to be the nugget to all youth problems. Drug use…low self-esteem, cutting…low self-esteem, eating disorders….low self-esteem. That is why I write so many posts about how adults can help young people feel ahh..mazing about themselves. It is also why we encourage so many of our teen interns and writers, because we know that doing what they love helps them feel stronger, passionate and empowered. So, what else can we do?
Here are a couple of suggestions my teens and I came up with.
1. Ask them to help you
Asking a teen or tween to help you with your own projects is a great way to help them feel wanted, needed and appreciated.
2. Find someone they respect and admire
You know those people who always make you feel amazing about yourself. I do not know how they do it, usually they are full of life and energy and love helping others get motivated. Either find this person or be this person for the youth in your life.
3. Ask them to help someone else
If you ask them to help you with someone else’s self esteem this also lets you bring up the issue of self confidence and it’s importance. It also helps them feel empowered.
4. Encourage flare
Embrace the individuality that your youth has shown. If they have a flare or a unique interest, that is a bit of their true self showing through. Embrace, it celebrate it, even if it is something you do not love (gothic makeup, Mohawk) respect the difference and point out what you like about it…that they have the courage to do it.
5. Find opportunities for difficulty
I do not mean tough love here. I mean find opportunities or activities that allow them to practice, learn and overcome hard skills. This helps them feel confident.
6. Brag about them
Around them and not around them. I know they act embarrassed, but when you brag about how awesome they are, a little part of them does hear it.
If you are aware of it and trying to help the youth in your life feel great about themselves, they will see that you care enough to try and this can be the biggest confidence booster.