Your teenager is busy figuring out who he is and where he fits into his world, and though this time of self-discovery can be full of fun and excitement, it can take a toll on self-esteem. Discovering yourself also means finding out who you aren’t and where you don’t belong, and those discoveries can make you question your own worth. Self-esteem-boosting activities can help your teen regain his perspective.
Create an Inventory
If your child seems to be stuck thinking about all the things she can’t do, encourage her to go ahead and make a list of all the things she’s not good at. Then ask her to draw a line down the middle of the page and list all the things she can do well on the other side of the paper. Encourage her by making suggestions and reminding her that she’s the person her friends call when they need advice, the best video-game bowler in the house, responsible about getting her chores done or her friends’ go-to resource for finding new music. Forcing her to balance the negative with the positive will help her see herself more objectively, explains social worker and National Association of Social Workers spokesperson Jay Finestone on Education.com.
Try Something New
Encourage your teen to join you in an activity that’s new to you both, such as rock climbing, painting or performing in a community theater production. The more activities your teen tries, the more likely he is to find areas where he excels. Participating in a new activity also gives your teen the opportunity to make mistakes in a low-consequence setting, which can help him better deal with real-life challenges.
One of the most important lessons your child can learn is that how you deal with the consequences of your actions and surprises of life is more important than the actions and surprises, explains Finestone. Games with lots of rules and plenty of luck are a good, low-risk way to enforce this without having to get preachy. Set aside a family game night to play card games and board games like Settlers of Catan or Risk, or try family-friendly video games like driving courses, music or sports games. If your child gets frustrated or elated in the course of the game, use it as an opportunity to draw a parallel to a similar life situation.