Unbeknownst to many parents, teen boys frequently suffer from low self-esteem. This very delicate, but critical component of a boys emotional development is often the key ingredient to their overall success in life and the main factor in developing strong physical, social and cognitive skills.
In today’s media centric society, boys are constantly measuring themselves against other peers, the males in their household, as well as the often-skewed media’s portrayal of men. Despite popular opinion, which generally labels boys as aggressive and overtly sexual, this is often far from the truth. Most boys, especially those between the ages of 12 to 17 pass through an intense period of insecurity and are very sensitive about their image while struggling to find their place in the world around them. Their egos are easily damaged and words said by loved ones and peers alike can have a devastating effect.
How to build Self-Esteem
Like trust, self-esteem can take months, even years to procure and seconds to destroy. It is critical that parents and caregivers pay close attention to the boys in their care and implement certain strategies for building self-esteem each and every time they interact.
Here are a few helpful suggestions to encourage self-esteem in teenage boys.
1. Listen. Due to their lack of emotional vocabulary, many young men do not know how to adequately portray the way they feel. Parents need to listen intently and help the boy with words that allow them to express their feelings.
2. Spend quality time. One of the greatest ideas that a boy can grasp is the knowledge that the people who are closest to him actually care about who he is as a person. Time spent one-on-one with a boy can work wonders with their emotional development and create a direct sense of love for self.
3. Praise. Criticizing a child or constantly reinforcing what the boy has done wrong can only add to a diminished self-esteem. Everyone needs to be praised. Sincere praise can do more to lift their spirits and give them the will to succeed than nearly any other support they could receive.
4. Identify his strengths. A boy suffering from self-esteem issues generally does value his worth in society compared to others that he knows. It is critical that parents and caregivers point out those talents or abilities, which the boy has, so that he can see them for himself and begin to value what he has to offer to the world.
Self-esteem can be rebuilt when it is damaged, however, it involves helping the boy understand the nature of why it was damaged in the first place. This can take some time and must be reinforced over and over again with positive interactions and sincere, truthful conversation from a parent or mentor the child trusts. There are also programs that can separate boys from negative environments and place them in positive peer cultures with staff that are trained to help boys with these types of issues.
If your child struggles with self-esteem and you are unable to find ways to help, it is important that you allow an intervention to occur in his life before other poor behavior patterns begin. Get help today.