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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Teen's Self Esteem

Hi Sadie,I was wondering if you have any thoughts on how to help a teenager build self-confidence? Are there any christian books that you are aware of that a young teen would benefit from?

I have a daughter in her early teens and she is struggling right now. She has been exceptionally quiet for weeks, if not months now, and finally tonight, she broke down. The situation is far too complicated to write out on here, but I do believe it all comes down to a low self-esteem and a fear of failing. Her dad and I are at a loss on how to help her. We have told her repeatedly that she can always talk to us, but I'm not sure what we say is of help. I know middle school is hard for so many, but it breaks my heart to see so much hurt in her.

What can I do as a parent to help her? Thanks for any advice you may have.

YUCK, I did not like middle school!!

Okay, now that that is out of the way...your daughter is so blessed to have you and your husband to talk with. Although, as you say, you're not sure that what you say really helps. Kids usually think that we "have" to say nice things 'cuz we are the parents. In her head, all the things that you say to her would sure sound better coming from one of her peers.

Low self esteem is at the root of so many issues for teens. Does she feel like she excels at anything? Is there something that you can encourage her to put her energy into? You don't say if she has close friends, but even having just one really good buddy can make all the difference in the world. I am sure you do this already - but encourage her to have friends over and encourage this often. Maybe she is afraid to invite anyone for fear that she will be turned down. It's likely to happen, but not EVERY time. (Shoot I am still afraid that my friends will turn me down.)

I have said this before about other subjects, but try talking when there aren't any "issues". In other words - not when she is having a break down. See if you can weave discussions about what is going well, what she enjoys, friendships, self esteem, etc into your normal talk time. And keep these discussions short and sweet!

Because I am a Christian, I always want to tell others to pray. Sometimes we use prayer as a last resort, but where our children are concerned we should be on our knees daily. These are tough years for them! I am also a firm believer in good, solid counseling!!

I wish I knew of some books to recommend. I also wish I really had some real wisdom to share. Hopefully there are others out there that can share what has worked for them. Keep lovin' on your daughter. She has great value, she just needs to be able to believe that for herself.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I agree...I hate middle school! I'm so thankful that my oldest son will be done with it in June, however, my younger son will be starting there in September:-(

I have suffered from depression and panic attacks for several years. I believe it is something that runs in my family. I've noticed signs of it in my oldest son. I talked to my doctor about it. He said that anxiety is more common for teenagers than depression. Since my son is a younger teen, he said that the best type of counseling for him would include my husband and I. This is because younger teens aren't able to "self-reflect". They are less likely to talk to a doctor one-on-one.

So talking to your family doctor about your daughter and then perhaps going through some counseling is one idea.

I don't have any book suggestions. I find my kids open up when we're doing an activity together. You may be able to find out more this way than if you ask your daughter direct questions.

Hope this helps! Prayers to you!