Self Esteem  


Self-esteem refers to people's sense of self-worth and value. Teens due to a number of physical and emotional changes are prone to experiencing low self-esteem. Though low self-esteem is a fairly common phenomenon during the teen years, it can make the teens susceptible to various problems.

Low self-esteem puts teens at risk for:

1. Poor grades

2. Juvenile delinquency

3. Gang membership

4. Inconsistent use of contraceptives

5. Drug and alcohol abuse

6. Dropping out of school

7. Depression

8. Eating disorders

9. Vulnerability to addiction

Factors effecting Self Esteem:

It's no wonder that during the changes and challenges of adolescence there can be significant fluctuations in a teenager's assessment of their own self-image and/or self-worth.

1. Transition : One of the most significant periods for increased rates of lower self-esteem is the transition from one stage of education to the next. The most observable of these is the transition from primary (elementary) to junior high or middle school. This change in status and comfort level is often internalised by the adolescent as a sense of being inadequate or inferior - resulting in lower self-esteem.

The confusion generated by the range of extra choices and increased significance of the decisions to be made can cause older adolescents to feel inadequate and ill equipped. There is also a suggestion that this rate of low self esteem in transition to tertiary education is due to generations of children receiving significant degrees of empty or false praise growing up.

2.Physical Appearance: Physical appearance is one of the biggest predictors of a teenagers self-esteem. There is a strong correlation between teenagers who express dissatisfaction with their appearance and those who have low levels of self-esteem. For teenagers , girls particularly, the social pressures exerted by constant media messages about the perceived ideal body type can cause significant levels of dissatisfaction about their body.

3. Social Stability : Strong relational and communal networks are important co-relational factors for teenagers who have healthy self-esteem. Having a strong bond with family and feeling secure and loved definitely mitigate against low self esteem . For this reason when teenagers experience the divorce, separation, or death of a parent it can result in a significant loss of self-esteem.

4. Gender Differences : A key difference between the genders is the effect of puberty on the body. Adolescent females have greater dissatisfaction with their bodies than do males. For many girls the physical changes associated with early adolescence often coincide with a significant drop in self-esteem. For girls the development of increased body fat and shape change can have a negative effect. Conversely for males the increase in muscle and strength can have a positive effect.

Tips for your adolescent:

1. Set realistic goals for yourself.

2. Try to get the most out of your strengths and do your best, without demanding unrealistic results of yourself.

3. Celebrate your achievements.

4. Trust your own feelings.

5. Take it one day at a time. Do your best each day.

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