Teenagers and young adults today are facing unprecedented social pressures. Social media's effects on young people, for example, with highlight reels of other people’s lives and photo filters showcasing unrealistic beauty standards can greatly impact a young person’s mental health.
As a parent, you know that your teen or young adult is beautiful inside and out. So, how do you convey that to them in a way that is believable and meaningful? Learn more about how to help young people gain self-esteem.
Why is Self-Esteem Important for Young People?
Self-esteem is important for teenagers and young adults because it helps them develop a positive sense of self, build resilience, and navigate challenges with confidence. It also plays a crucial role in their mental health, relationships, and overall well-being.
According to this article published in the Journal of Child Adolescent and Psychiatry and Mental Health, strong self-esteem in adolescents can also protect against the development of anxiety, depression, and attention problems.
With the ever-increasing pressures and challenges faced by teenagers and young adults today, it is more crucial than ever to understand the importance of self-esteem in their lives. Self-esteem acts as a strong foundation upon which teenagers and young adults can build their sense of self-worth and navigate the complexities of adolescence.
A healthy level of self-esteem allows teens and young adults to develop a positive image of themselves, fostering a sense of confidence that can be instrumental in tackling life's hurdles. It provides them with the resilience needed to bounce back from setbacks, setbacks that are inevitable in the journey towards adulthood.
Poor Self-Esteem in Teens and Young Adults
Poor teen and young adult self-esteem can have a detrimental impact on their lives. It can lead to feelings of worthlessness, low confidence, and self-doubt. Young people with low self-esteem may struggle to form healthy relationships, set boundaries, or advocate for themselves. They may also be more vulnerable to peer pressure and engage in risky behaviors. Poor self-esteem in young adults can lead to issues such as:
Social Media and Self-Confidence in Young People
A quick look through history will show you how the definition of beauty has changed for teens and young adults over the years.
At one point in time, the more prominent a woman's forehead was, the better. Sometimes, men with facial hair were considered attractive; at other times, they were supposed to be clean-shaven.
Trends in beauty and body type will come and go, so it is crucial to develop a strong sense of self-esteem in teens and young adults.
Being so entrenched in social media, as many of today’s teens and young adults are, is dangerous for their mental health and physical health. Social media can affect the self-esteem of teens and young adults by leading to social comparison, seeking validation through likes and comments, and exposure to cyberbullying. This complex interplay impacts their self-worth and confidence, contributing to feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, and loneliness, which affect their overall well-being.
Teen and Young Adult Girls and Self-Esteem
Teen and young adult girls face unique challenges when it comes to self-esteem. Society bombards them with unrealistic beauty standards and impossible ideals from a young age that can impact their self-confidence. From social media to advertisements, the message is clear: you must look a certain way to be deemed beautiful or worthy.
This constant pressure leaves many teenage and young adult girls feeling inadequate and self-conscious. They compare themselves to airbrushed models and influencers on social media, forgetting that these images are often heavily edited and do not reflect reality.
Teen and Young Adult Boys and Self-Esteem
Teen and young adult boys also face significant challenges when it comes to self-esteem. Like their female counterparts, they are often bombarded with unrealistic expectations and societal pressures. The media portrays the "ideal" male body as muscular, chiseled, and strong, leaving many young boys feeling inadequate if they don't match up to these standards.
In addition to physical appearance, teenage and young adult boys may also struggle with other aspects of self-esteem such as academic performance, athletic abilities, or popularity among peers. The pressure to excel in these areas can lead to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
Self-Esteem and Body-Shaming in Teens and Young Adults
Body shaming is one of the most harmful things to a teenager or young adult’s self-esteem and confidence. It is essential that, as parents, we do not participate in body-shaming and that we stop it when we see it. It is not okay to bully and try to shame people for not meeting a fickle beauty standard.
Body shaming is made worse by the internet and is commonly seen in cyberbullying. If your teen or young adult has experienced body-shaming, talk to them about it. Let them know that only insecure people bully others, and they have nothing to be ashamed of. This is another reason to refrain from social media and focus on building healthy self-esteem.
Building Teen and Young Adult Self-Esteem
Because teenagers and young adults cannot live up to continually changing cultural beauty standards, encourage your child to focus on their health. Too often, beauty and fashion trends can make teens do very unhealthy things to their bodies. They try to gain or lose too much weight, build muscles their frames cannot carry, undergo dangerous cosmetic procedures, or lay in tanning beds that increase their chance of cancer.
Help your teen or young adult gain self-esteem while improving their confidence and health by having them consider:
- Exercising with them
- Cooking healthy family dinners
- Using self-esteem-boosting activities
- Limiting social media exposure
- Seeking help from a professional when needed
Through healthy living, you can increase your teen or young adult’s self-esteem as they learn to listen to their body and appreciate it, even when it does not meet society's unrealistic expectations.
Teen and Young Adult Self-Esteem Wrap-up
Building self-esteem in teens and young adults is crucial for their overall well-being and confidence. Instead of striving to meet society's unrealistic beauty standards, encourage young people to prioritize their health. By focusing on healthy living, young people can learn to listen to their body and appreciate it, regardless of external expectations. Using this guide is a great way to give your teen or young adult a clear strategy to improve their chances of success and build their confidence and self-esteem.
If your teen or young adult lacks confidence and needs help overcoming damaging cultural “norms,” contact us or call us at 818-906-4884 today. Help your teen or young adult build their confidence from the inside out.