When you put a puzzle together you have to figure out how the pieces fit.  That is basically what it is like to be a teenager - trying to find where you fit in the world. Today more than ever our teens face increasing challenges.

May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month. My kids will be 16 and 13 so I know first hand what an important time of life this is. With low self-esteem on the rise, it is vital for us to learn how to help our teens navigate these important years. Low self-esteem has many signs including kids making negative comments about themselves, giving up easily, not making eye contact, and avoiding social activities.  As parents, we might be quick to point out what our teen is doing wrong, but we should make and extra effort to notice when they do something right and praise them for it.

Here are five ways to boost your teenager' s self-esteem. 

  • 1

    Be Generous with Praise

    Let your teen know when they do something good whether it was getting an A on a test or winning something. But also praise your teen for trying. Teens with low self esteem may take failure to the heart so let them know even if it didn’t turn out right, they still did a good job.

  • 2

    Give your Teen Responsibility

    Getting a job, volunteering, or even tutoring are great ways to help your teen feel important or valued. It shows your teen that they do have a positive impact on the world.

  • 3

    Use Constructive Criticism

    Teens with low self esteem have a hard time accepting criticism. So when you need to criticize them, do it in a softer manner. Instead of  saying “how could you fail a test?” Say “You almost got it, with a little extra studying you will get it next time.”

  • 4

    Nourish their Talents

    Teens are trying to figure it all, which means experimenting with different hobbies or talents. Support your teens passion and help them excel in it.  Be sure to let them know the pitfalls of experimenting with something that could harm them.

  • 5

    Keep Them Active

    Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and release feel-good hormones. It will help give your teen confidence, stay in shape and set goals for themselves. Take your teen to the gym with you or do other healthy activities such as walking or biking together. It will help boost their confidence and give you the quality with each other.