Being a teenager is one of the most enjoyable and, on the other side, stressful stages of life. Acne, abnormal body proportions, bullying, and self-shaming are potentially devastating circumstances one can experience. This might make one doubt their abilities to succeed socially, achieve their goals, and be accepted by their peers.
Even worse, the insecure teen will likely carry those feelings into adulthood. If you are a parent, you should ensure their fears and insecurities don’t get in the way of fully expressing themselves and having fun throughout their teenage years. Here are some ways to address their self-image issues and anxieties and work toward fostering a trusting relationship with them.
Self-improvement is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight and doesn’t come naturally to everyone. The hardest part of self-improvement is accepting that we are not perfect and don’t have all the answers.
If you want your child to embrace and practice self-improvement, be the one to do so. If you can show your teen that there is a healthy balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement, they will be more likely to make an effort to become better.
Encouraging self-improvement with your kids can seem like an overwhelming task at times — after all, how do you tell a child that she needs to improve herself without making it seem like a chore?
A parent’s role is to literally assist their child in finding solutions to these insecurities. For instance, if they have acne, you can advise them to establish a good hygiene routine and see a dermatologist for treatment. You can approach the weight issue in the same way. A bariatrician can help, so take them there for treatment.
To understand more about adolescent health and how you may help your child, you can also read blogs online. BuzzRx.com is one of many online resources that doesn’t only offer discounts on prescriptions but also features a helpful blog section that can guide you as you support your teenagers through this phase of their lives.
Lastly, parents can also encourage their children to develop a positive self-image by modeling a confident and optimistic outlook on life and sharing their own successes with them. This is a great way to encourage your teen to start a positive inner dialogue with themselves.
It doesn’t matter how long or short an encouraging message is as long as it means something to the receiver. They don’t need to be complicated or profound; they just need to be sincere. The key is consistency — repeat affirmations often enough to become true for your teen, who will begin sharing them with others.
Encourage Open Communication
If you have an insecure teen, the best way to help them is to be a good listener. This means not rushing to give advice or telling your child that they need to try harder.
Parents need to encourage open communication with their children. You may think, “But how do I encourage open communication with my child?”
Here are some tips for making it easier:
- Schedule time to talk more often.
- Set boundaries around when you can talk and when you cannot (e.g. when your teen is at work).
- Make sure to listen to what they say rather than just waiting for them to tell you something.
- Don’t try to solve problems or make decisions for your child; let them figure things out independently as long as they don’t make bad choices.
Help Them Acknowledge Their Anxieties
You don’t have to be a psychologist to help your child understand that anxiety can be both a normal and a healthy part of life. Helping your child recognize that they are experiencing something other than a problem is the first step in teaching them how to manage their emotions.
First of all, be calm and supportive. When your child comes to you with something they are anxious about, try not to take it personally or get angry. Your reaction will likely make them feel worse, so try not to react. Instead, respond with kindness and compassion — even if you think the situation is silly. Let them know that many people get nervous about things and that they don’t need to feel bad about it.
Don’t make them feel silly. If your child seems overly emotional about something, tell him it’s normal to feel this way sometimes — but also reassure him that he doesn’t have anything wrong with him. This can be hard because we naturally want our children to grow up quickly and become independent.
Introduce New Hobbies
Teenagers are curious, excited, and ready to learn. They’re also often desperate for validation. It’s natural for teens to want to explore new things and try new activities to make them feel like they belong in their world.
Teens who feel part of something are more likely to feel confident and less likely to act out. When teens feel accepted by their peers and parents, they are more likely to embrace new opportunities and change.
As long as the activity helps develop their skills and abilities, teens should feel comfortable doing it. But most importantly, parents should encourage new opportunities because it shows teens that they have options other than what’s expected of them.
As a parent, you want your children to grow into independent, capable adults. To make an environment that nourishes and encourages their development, teach teens by example and provide them the space to develop the skills you want them to learn. This can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. Your kids will be better equipped for life if you model respect for them early in their lives.
This is a guest post.