It seems to me that a lot is demanded of teenagers these days, there is a constant pressure to reach a standard, to perform, and to conform. Whether its school work, sports, fitting in with family rules or keeping up with their friends, your teen is constantly walking a tightrope between what is asked of them and what they feel able to achieve.

Its no wonder many teenagers have self esteem issues when their success is measured by school grades, sports scores and how other people think about them. You know these external measurements of your teens success are not a true measurement of their worth. You want to take the pain of failing, rejection and embarrassment away from them, but you know it’s not possible. You know self esteem comes from within.

So what can your teenager do to build their self confidence and boost self esteem? It might help to show them this list, and talk about the different tips. Buy them a notebook so they can record their ideas and feelings now, then put the book to one side to look at in a few months time. You can guarantee them that feelings and ideas will change over time, and issues that seem important now, will be a distant memory next year. Oh, and promise you won’t read the book without their permission!

Five tips for every teenager!     

1. Make a list of your strengths.

Everybody’s good at something, and many people are good at quite a few things. Even if you don’t have a talent or strength that you’re aware of, you probably have some interests you can develop into strengths.

Make a list of a few things you’re good at and a few things you’re interested in and would like to be better at. Share this list with your parents, or someone you trust. They may have some ideas about other things you’re good at, too, and can help you come up with a plan for developing them.

2. Realise your limits.

Nobody’s perfect — not even close. So if you weren’t born a great singer, a super sportsman or top of the class that’s OK. You have your personality and your view on life that’s all your own and very valuable — even if you are a hopeless footballer, have ears that stick out or look lumpy in jeans.

3. Stop putting yourself down. Now!

One of the biggest things that keeps people from achieving their goals – and feeling good about themselves – is that negative voice in their head that tells them they are not good enough. 

If you listen to that voice it will hold you back from who you want to be. If you don’t do well at a particular project or task, it doesn’t mean that you never will. Perhaps the time wasn’t right. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never succeed. It’s OK to be upset for a bit when things don’t go your way, but learn to let it go and move on. You’ll be that much closer to getting what you want if you do.

4. Celebrate progress and small victories.

Did you pass your driver’s test or present a great project despite feeling nervous? Give yourself credit for it. You did it, and you did it well! And guess what? You can tackle bigger, harder things, too.

5. Pat yourself on the back every day.

Find a few small things that you did well each day. Whether it’s waking up on time, smiling at the bus driver or sending a card to your grandmother, a lot of good can be accomplished in one day — and it’s something to take pride in.

I hope these tips help, if you feel you need help approaching this subject with your teenager, contact me and we can work it out together.