How Parents Can Help

    • Work with your teen to identify the reasons for any feelings of low self-worth. Is it because they have a negative self-image? Is it because they are not excelling at school or sports? Are they feeling excluded from peer groups?

    • Listen carefully and don’t criticize their feelings. You need to acknowledge the importance of each concern they express. Be open as you listen without judgment. 

    • Recognize the reality of each perceived area of deficit. Be realistic and identify which areas can and cannot be changed. For example, if your teenager is upset because he/she’s too short to play basketball, you will need to help from him assess his abilities more accurately. 

    • Assist your teen in the identification of other skills or abilities that could be developed. Encourage your teen to build on their skills and abilities.

    • If your teenager feels he/she is not excelling in class, or not performing well in a sport and these are things well within her capabilities to develop, then you can work with your teen to get the help required to facilitate his/her improvement in these areas. For example: find a tutor to assist in school work. Set realistic short- and long-term goals for development in the identified areas of need.

    • As you work with your teen on changing those things that can be improved, continually reinforce the positive. Encourage your teenager to learn how to focus on developing his or her strengths while working to improve on the weaknesses.