It’s unfortunate that so many teenagers feel miserable…
- Maybe they can’t afford the clothes the cool kids wear – I WON’T BE POPULAR.
- Maybe they lag behind in reading and basic learning skills – I’M NOT SMART.
- Maybe they were born into a poor family – I’M NOT WORTHY
- Maybe they’re small in stature – I WON’T BE PICKED FOR THE TEAM
- Maybe they weren’t taught good social skills – I WON’T FIT IN
- Maybe they’re slow to develop physically – I’M NOT ATTRACTIVE
- Maybe they’re susceptible to acne – I’M UGLY
- Maybe they’ve made mistakes – I’M A BAD PERSON, I’M INADEQUATE
When you were a teen, did you ever experience any of these negative thoughts? I know I did.
It’s a tough time of life, even a perilous time. I wouldn’t be a teenager for anything in the world. All the above thoughts lead to low self-esteem. The consequences of considering yourself inferior are almost never good.
Teenagers know they’re growing up; they don’t want to be thought of as children anymore. They want to feel grown up. But deep down, they know they’re not. This makes them feel unhappy and insecure, Which leads them to desperately want to be liked, which leads them to be vulnerable to peer pressure, which leads them down the wrong paths.
Some things an adult can do to help…
- Talk to them on an adult level. Don’t call them names or judge them as if there was something wrong with them.
- Treat them with respect. Don’t abuse them or infringe on their basic rights as human beings.
- When they deserve it, tell them what you liked about what they did.
- Affirm their good qualities, based on actions you’ve observed.
- Affirm their potential.
- Pass on wisdom and life skills.
- Ask them questions that help them think through their own problems.
- They will make mistakes, so help them learn the lesson rather than berating them.
Was there an adult in your life who made you feel valued and helped you grow stronger as a person?