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Why Developing Self-Esteem and Self-Worth is Vital for Teenagers

by Rachel Cohen

The teenage years are a time when you’re figuring out who you are. It’s also a time when teenagers are trying to adapt to their changing bodies and dealing with a lot of hormones. If you have a teenager, fostering positive and supportive views about their bodies can help them develop a sense of self-esteem.

Developing positive self-esteem and self-worth is important in teens due to the implications that low self-esteem and self-worth can have later in life. Teenagers with low self-esteem and low self-worth are likely to face an increased risk of mental health problems in adulthood.

Learning how to foster positive self-esteem in your teenager can give them the confidence to feel good about themselves and their relationships. It also improves their mental health.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. It’s multifaceted and can involve many different components.

Research indicates that self-esteem is made up of the following factors:

  • Self-concept
  • Self-perception
  • Self-acceptance
  • Self-worth
  • Self-respect
  • Self-Image
  • Self-confidence

When you have healthy self-esteem, you have a balanced view of yourself and can accept yourself for your strengths and your faults. People with healthy or high self-esteem tend to be more successful and less susceptible to mental health challenges.

What is Self-Worth?

While self-esteem and self-worth are similar, they’re not the same. Self-worth is how you perceive your value and accept yourself. While it’s a part of self-esteem, it doesn’t encompass all that self-esteem does.

Why Self-Esteem and Self-Worth are Important for Teenagers

Self-esteem and self-worth are essential for adolescents to develop. Research indicates that low self-esteem and self-worth in adolescents are linked to depression. Self-esteem is also linked to overall well-being.

If your teenager has low self-esteem, this is linked with a greater risk of mental health problems, development of substance dependence, lower life satisfaction, and lower relationship satisfaction in adulthood.

Brooding thoughts, or thoughts where your teen compares themselves to others, correlate with self-esteem. The more your teenager thinks about their shortcomings and flaws, compares themselves to others, or focus on what they don’t have, the lower their self-esteem can be.

Conversely, positive self-esteem is linked with greater life satisfaction and predicts more success in relationships, work, and health. Learning ways to develop a positive view of yourself and your relationship with yourself can pay off in the long run.

Ways Teenagers Can Improve Their Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

You can help your teenager develop positive self-esteem and self-worth in many ways. It’s worth it to have a teen who values and accepts themselves.

Help Them Develop Positive Affirmations

If you have a teenager who tends to ruminate on negative thoughts, help them combat them with positive affirmations. Positive affirmations have been linked with increased self-worth and resilience. Research also suggests that they can reduce stress and defensiveness.

Some examples of self-affirmations may include:

  • I am worthy
  • I am strong and confident
  • I love myself even when I mess up
  • Even though I’m stressed out, I can get through this
  • I like that I am kind, even when others aren’t kind to me

It’s best to help your teenager identify an authentic affirmation, making practicing positive affirmations easier.

Watch How You Talk About Your Teen’s Appearance

Teenagers receive many messages about their bodies from their peers and the media. If you’re trying to help your teenager improve their self-esteem and self-worth, watch how you talk about your body and their bodies. Teenagers pick up on your messages, which could increase negative feelings about their bodies.

Help Your Teen Foster Social Connections

Social relationships are significant during the teen years. You can help your teen learn about healthy relationships with others and encourage them to engage in hobbies and activities that help boost socialization.

Communicate with Your Teenager

Open communication is vital if you’re a parent or guardian of a teen. Teens are learning about themselves and trying to figure out how to navigate peer relationships, school, extracurriculars, and their changing bodies.

Having compassion for your teen when they make mistakes, having honest conversations about what’s happening in their lives, and being a source of positive support can make a huge difference in your teen’s life. Your encouragement and love can help them feel good about themselves.

Help Them Find Ways to Give Back to Others

Giving back to others is an excellent way for teens to feel good about themselves and develop positive self-esteem and self-worth. Encourage them to try to help out others when they can. You might even engage in a community activity with them, such as volunteering or attending a community clean-up day.

Seek the Support of a Counselor

If your teen is struggling with their mental health or has low self-esteem and self-worth, consider seeking the support of a therapist. A teen therapist in Denver can help your teen identify ways to improve their self-worth and self-esteem.

If you’re looking for a therapist in the Denver area who works with teens, consider contacting WiseMind Counseling today to schedule an appointment.


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