How to Make Your Teens Feel Better About Themselves

By Zora Hughes
Andrew Olney/Photodisc/Getty Images

The teenage years are sensitive and fragile, as children transition into adulthood. For some teens, even the smallest slights and mishaps can cause them to spiral into self-pity and low self-esteem. According to, low-self esteem can lead to depression and an overall feeling of not being worthy. As a parent of a teen, you can counteract negative feelings that your child may be experiencing with positive words and actions.

Step 1

Help teens overcome disappoint with positive outlooks. suggests redirecting your teen's thoughts when negativity starts to take over. For example, if your teen gets a low score on a college entrance exam and says, "I'll never get a good enough SAT score," immediately remind your teen to look at things from a positive perspective. You could say something like, "You have good grades in all of your classes and you can still re-take the test. I'll be there to help you study."

Step 2

Praise your teens honestly. Always praise a job well done, but do so honestly. Don't say they were "the best" at something if they absolutely were not. This can set your teens up for disappointment and lead to less practice or studying if they falsely believe they are at the top of their game.

Step 3

Reward true effort in your teens. They may not always reach the goals they set for themselves or your expectations, but if you know that they put 100-percent effort into trying, that should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Step 4

Encourage your teens to try new things. Instead of feeling bad about not being good at a particular hobby or sport they were interested in, support your teens in finding other activities that they just might excel at.

Step 5

Display a positive self-image. You are the biggest role model in your children's lives. According to, being negative about yourself, complaining about things that go wrong and speaking negatively about your looks, will only influence your teens to model your behavior.

Step 6

Support positive changes. If your teens has low-self esteem because of being overweight, encourage them to make healthy, appropriate changes. Offer to take a walk with them every day after dinner. Go grocery shopping for healthier food items that the whole family will enjoy and cook meals together.

Step 7

Respect individuality. Encourage your teens to express their personalities through through their clothing and hairstyles, within appropriate parameters that you set. You should also encourage your teens to speak their mind when something is bothering them, even if it's to agree with you, so that they know you respect their opinions.

Step 8

Always show your love. No matter how old your teen gets, they need to know how much you love, support and believe in them. They may not appreciate public displays of affection, but don't hold back on the those hugs and kisses at home.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.