Published on February 07, 2020

teen self-esteem

Teens and Healthy Self-Esteem

The teenage years are a particularly challenging time. Not only is your teen coping with his or her physical changes, they are also experiencing a range of emotions that often cause insecurity. As a parent, it’s important to have regular and open dialogue with your teen about their feelings to help them feel safe establishing their own identity and building their self-esteem.


According to Mindful, a health and mindfulness information portal, teens are experiencing increased levels of anxiety and perfectionism as they measure themselves against unrealistic standards. Encouraging teens to embrace who they are, develop their unique talents, and see beyond themselves can help boost their self-esteem.

“Establishing healthy self-esteem and a positive and grounded outlook on life is important to minimizing many psychological and social issues facing teens,” said Dr. Chad Lennon, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Services. “Discussing topics such as acceptance, body positivity, and inclusiveness are all key to helping your teen feel good about themselves and embracing others.”


  • Engage your teen in physical activity, whether it is an extracurricular activity or regular exercise routine. Exercise helps us feel stronger, healthier, and more empowered.
  • Focus on self-care. Help your teen understand the importance of treating themselves with kindness and accepting who they are and their flaws. This concept is very important during this stage of life as teens are forming their sexual and gender identity.
  • Avoid social comparison. The increased use of social media has created an environment where teens are constantly comparing themselves to their peers. Talking to your teen about what makes them unique will foster a dialogue of self-
  • Demonstrate the importance of helping others. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Adolescence found that adolescents who were kind and helpful in general had higher self-esteem, but those who directed their generosity toward others (not friends and family) tended to grow in self-esteem.

Teaching your teen healthy mental habits and self-care early on will give them the emotional and social foundation they need to live happier and more fulfilling lives.

If your teen is struggling with low self-esteem or anxiety, we can help. Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center offers outpatient mental health services for children and adolescents. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call 800-204-8600.

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