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The Road Toward Healthy Self-esteem for Teens

Counseling for self-esteem, improve self-esteem, teen counseling Fayetteville NC, teenager and adolescent counseling in Fayetteville NC, counseling for teens with issues in Fayetteville NC

The Road Toward Healthy Self-esteem for Teens


Adolescence can be filled with uncertainty. It can be a very happy phase in the life of a young person. With all the changes happening faster than they can take in, though, it can also be a very challenging time for them. Aside from having a supportive family, school mentors and friends/peers, one thing that can help them adjust well during this phase is having a healthy level of self-esteem. 

It is true that self-esteem does not guarantee that they will have an easy adolescence, but it can help them adjust well during this time of enormous changes and challenges. Since being accepted by their peers is an important priority at this developmental stage, being able to accept themselves first and having a healthy sense of self or self-image is critical. With a healthy level of self-esteem, they can also be more confident. So, they are more likely to perform well in school, in the social aspects of life, and in the pursuit of their other aspirations.


The Concept of Self-esteem

Self-esteem pertains to a person’s perception of self-image or self-worth. It affects their feelings of adequacy, efficiency and sense of value. It can also impact their views, convictions and faith, including the related emotions. According to behavioral health expert and author Nathaniel Branden, PhD, it “… is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness.”  Hence, one’s sense of self-esteem can either bolster or quash your teen’s emotional health and development.

Self-confidence and self-respect are two elements that can influence self-esteem. The former is what can guide your teen in choosing their actions, decisions and goals in life. It refers to the “the sense of right” that would reinforce their beliefs, commitment and convictions. Conversely, self-respect refers to the very values and ethics that let them make honest/moral choices. It is their individual value according to the ideals that people generally rate or judge themselves by. As such, both play an important role developing healthy self-esteem.

It is worth noting that both can significantly diminish during their adolescence. According to Carl E Pickhardt, Ph.D. in a Psychology Today’s post, it takes a dip first during the early adolescence between ages nine and 13 when the child experiences not being treated as a child anymore. It plunges during late adolescence and until the outset of adulthood from age 18 to 23 as they are shocked with the daunting responsibilities that come with independence.

Though confidence and self-respect are linked to self-worth, teens with self-esteem may still experience self-doubt and may not always succeed in their endeavors. If a teen, however, has a high sense of self-worth, they are expected to think highly of themselves. They will similarly feel confident and appreciated by the people surrounding them. Thus, there is a greater likelihood that they will have a happy, more fulfilling adolescence, despite difficulties.


The Value of Self-esteem

Self-esteem may not be everything in a person’s life, but it can make a positive difference, especially for teenagers who are going through “growing pains.” As the physical changes in their appearance become more felt and noticeable, they can be excited, rather than being confused and worried. As their cognitive development matures and their social awareness becomes sharper, they may be overawed by novel thoughts and ideas. Adolescence is a developmental stage that comes with innumerable changes, transitions, challenges and a lot of adjustments. It is also the time for self-discovery, identity formation, and establishment of independence.

Thus, self-esteem can impact almost every aspect of their lives. With high self-esteem, they can enjoy satisfying relationships. With people they value – family, friends and peers, and mentors. Believing that adversities can make them better people, they can start to feel optimistic, so they can meet their challenges, issues, even defeats. With healthy self-worth, they can adjust, achieve more and perform better in their varied pursuits.

Self-esteem is important to people, regardless of age. This is most critical during adolescence when the young people are confronted with a lot of difficulties. Indeed, self-worth can make a difference in an adolescent’s life. In the words of Dr. Branden, “Positive self-esteem is the immune system of the spirit, helping an individual face life problems and bounce back from adversity.”


How’s Your Teen’s Self-esteem?

Among all the moodiness and trendiness. you could be convinced that all teens are like your own daughter or son. Thus, coming home with a different hair color to be like their clique, attending late-night parties “to be seen,” or avoiding social events to be invisible, are things you may prefer to ignore. How would you know if your teen feels adequate or good enough? Are they okay, even when they didn’t make the baseball team or cheerleading squad? Do they trust you enough to tell you they feel insecure? 


Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell when a teen has sagging self-esteem and self-confidence. There are, however, telltale sign, such as:


  • an ineptness when being praised
  • nervous expressions reflected in their body language – not making eye contact or walking with a bowed head
  • being unconstructive and pessimistic about others
  • avoiding social situations
  • not wanting to participate in activities
  • not pushing hard enough in class
  • being wary or shy
  • being subdued and giving in to peer pressure
  • “loser” attitude


If your teen has a healthy self-esteem, they are also more likely to be confident. The indications can be:


  • ability to share their thoughts without feeling exposed
  • aggressive in finding ways to achieve their goals
  • gives high value on honesty
  • takes responsibility with seriousness
  • values good health
  • affection for children
  • supporting self-improvement
  • ability to stay positive, confident and optimistic
  • selflessness and supportive of others


You can determine your teen’s level of self-esteem by knowing the factors that can shape it. According to Mayo Clinic, some of these include “… your thoughts and perceptions, how other people react to you, experiences at home, school, work and in the community.” The influences of their state of emotional and physical health, status and role in their environment, media influences, and relationships cannot be underestimated.


Building Your Teen’s Self-Esteem

The development of self-esteem starts early in life. It is readily challenged during adolescence owing to the many changes and challenges that teenagers face. If, as a young child they had the fortune of having a wonderful childhood, they are in luck. Their self-esteem can help see them through the rough years of adolescence. If, however, a teen had a traumatic childhood, they could have sagging self-worth, and self-criticizing could have become a bedfellow.

It isn’t the end of the journey yet. You can still blaze a trail that can take your teen to the fulfilling life they deserve. Finding and blazing that trail can be less arduous if you can find the kind of help that matters most – the help from a right-fit professional counselor. A skilled counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC can be the help your child needs.

There’s should be more fun during adolescence than angst and struggle. You can help your adolescent child have an enjoyable life and be a gift to themselves first and to others next by helping them build their self-esteem. The task can be daunting – choose to remove this block by connecting with a trained and proficient counselor independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC. With help, your teen can improve their self-esteem. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
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  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
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