As the result of a changing body and new social situations, teens may be riddled with self-doubt and a sense of low self-worth. Low self-esteem may cause them to seek approval in other areas, from both peers and adults. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation recommends helping to boost your teen's self-esteem to give him the courage to be his own person and make his own decisions, without worrying what others might think. You can help instill healthy self-esteem with activities you can complete with your teen to let him know how special he is.
The Three Compliments Journal
Supply your teen with a small journal and instruct her to wake up each morning, look in the mirror and give herself three compliments that she then records in her journal. The three-compliment activity is recommended by KidsHealth.org, a division of the Nemours Foundation, as a way to help instill self-love in your teen. Finding her own self-esteem by pointing out what she likes can help her gain confidence without leaning on the opinions of others.
Making a Self-Collage
Using pictures cut from magazines, your teen can assemble a collage of hopes, aspirations and talents that she can hang in a prominent place to remind her of her worth. Start by giving her a large piece of poster board and a stack of magazines to go through, instructing her to find pictures that represent her, suggests EducationWorld.com. Not only will it remind her of her abilities, but it will stand as a testament to what an individual she is.
Making a Self-Esteem Bucket
The self-esteem bucket is a powerful metaphor suggested by GoodCharacter.com to show what comments and opinions from others can do to your teen's self-esteem. Use a plastic bucket and hammer in several nails into the surface of the plastic. Fill the bucket with water, and announce that the water represents self-esteem. As you remove each nail, mention a hurtful comment that could be made to a teen. As the water pours out, ask your teen to brainstorm ways to plug the holes, like healthy exercise, good friends and influences and a strong family.
Making a Self-Esteem Calendar
Purchase a blank calendar and give it to your teen. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests filling each day with one activity that can help your teen hone her talents and enjoy life. She might choose activities like "Go for a bike ride," or "Paint a portrait." Then, hand the calendar to your teen with instructions that she should live every day to the fullest and enjoy her life without worrying what others think. It will help her cultivate her talents and enjoy a higher degree of self-worth.
The Positive Focus Group
This is a valuable activity for a group of teens to let each teenager know that he has traits that others appreciate. Break a group of teens into pairs or groups and give them a time limit. Focusing on each teen one at a time, the rest of the group talks about the things they most like. After the time is up, another teen in the group becomes the subject of conversation. While your teen's self-esteem shouldn't rest on the opinions of others, it can be a boost to know that he is appreciated.
- KidsHealth.org: Body Image and Self-Esteem
- Education World: Ten Activities to Improve Students' Self-Concepts
- GoodCharacter.com: Teaching Guide: Enhancing Self-Esteem for Grades 5-9
- Department of Health and Human Services: Building Self-Esteem A Self-Help Guide
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: A Positive Image: Self-Esteem