How to Build Values & Self Esteem in Teens

By Kathryn Hatter
Values and self-esteem help a teen stay strong.
Values and self-esteem help a teen stay strong.

Teens have a big job to tackle as they grow and learn through adolescence in preparation for adulthood. Solid values serve as a foundation to support sensible choices. Strong self-esteem will prepare your teenager for the inevitable highs and lows of life. As you guide and support your teen, incorporate these important themes into your disciplinary tactics to lay the groundwork for a positive life.


Encourage your youngster to focus on her strengths instead of dwelling on weaknesses. By celebrating successes, your teen can stay motivated to continue learning and growing. Tell your child, “Everyone has weak areas, but concentrating on your strengths will make you stronger overall.”

Talk about the importance of a positive attitude to help your youngster ride out the challenges of life, suggests KidsHealth. By approaching situations positively, with a “can-do” attitude, your teen is more likely to succeed. Encourage your youngster to keep self-talk positive, repeating mantras such as “I got this” or “I can do this.” Even if setbacks happen, a positive attitude will help your child pick up the pieces and keep trying.

Teach your teen how to avoid harsh self-criticism after mistakes. A common reaction of kids suffering low self-esteem involves self-talk such as “I will never get this right!” or “I am so dumb!” Instead of this reaction, encourage a gentler approach that doesn’t add more hurt to the situation, advises psychologist Carl Pickhardt, writing in "Psychology Today."


Talk about your personal values often with your youngster to explain these principles. Everyday life should bring about situations that enable you to discuss honesty, hard work and concern for others. By applying values to various situations, you show your child the practical application of the values.

Demonstrate your values to your teenager in everyday life. Let your adolescent witness you conducting yourself honestly and with integrity. Treat others with respect and concern. Speak kindly and help others whenever you can. Kids usually catch on to the values you model.

Listen when your teen brings up issues or problems. Without criticizing or judging, get the details and then help your adolescent learn how to apply values to the choices she makes, advises the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. For example, an issue involving peer pressure might challenge your child. When she comes to you to discuss it, listen and then gently guide her to realize that her values enable her to figure out what she needs to do. Help her also realize that she has the self-confidence to remain true to her values.

Assign household responsibilities to your child, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website. When kids pitch in and help the family, they learn values such as diligence and accountability. Household chores also help increase a child’s self-confidence as he realizes that he can make a difference in how the family functions.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.