The teenage years can be difficult. Teens are constantly being bombarded by messages from the media, their friends and society about how they should look and act. As a result, many teens start feeling self-conscious and start behaving in a withdrawn manner. As a parent, you can help ease their discomfort. But first, you’ll need to identify whether or not your teen suffers from feelings of insecurity.
They’re Wearing Loose or Baggy Clothes
If your teen has started wearing mainly loose or baggy clothes, they may be insecure about their body. Work with your teen to find empowering activities that will help them feel better about their body, such as yoga or dance. If you’re concerned they may have an eating disorder, encourage them to talk to a counselor or doctor.
They’re Not Spending Time With Their Friends
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If your teen avoids spending time with friends, they may be experiencing social anxiety. Teens can be very hard on themselves and your teen may believe they’re not “good enough” to hang out with their friends anymore. You can support your teen by helping them identify their negative thoughts so you can work through them together.
They Make Self-Deprecating Comments
If you constantly hear your teen say things like “I’m just not good at this” or “no one even needs me anyway,” they may lack confidence in their skills and abilities. You can improve their spirits by reminding your teen of what they’re good at, praising them when they do something well and helping them find a positive outlet such as art or a sport.
They Don’t Voice Their Opinions
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Teens who are often quiet and never seem to have an opinion may feel like they’re not important or that their views don’t matter. To help your teen, make a point of asking their opinion on various things like what to have for dinner or what they thought of a movie. Respond thoughtfully to what they have to say. When you do this on a regular basis, they’ll become more comfortable in sharing their opinions.
They Constantly Seek Validation
If your teen is always fishing for compliments or asking for everyone’s opinions, then your teen may feel doubtful about their own thoughts or actions. This may be happening because your teen feels a lack of certainty in their identity. You can help by complimenting them when they’re not expecting it (such as when they do something nice for a sibling). Even more, encourage them to take confidence in the things they do, and not seek approval from others.
They Don’t Spend Time Doing the Things They Enjoy
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If your teen used to love playing sports or making music but seems to have lost all interest, they may feel unsure about their talents. Teens can be very competitive and some may refuse to participate in an activity if they can’t win or be the best. Remind your teen that the goal of these activities is fun, not status, and help them find some new hobbies that they can enjoy without worrying about engaging in a competitive mindset.
If you’re concerned that your teen is struggling with feelings of insecurity, take the time to talk to them about how they’re feeling. Ask how you can best support them through their struggles. In some cases, a professional counselor can be especially effective in helping your teen.
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