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Happy Adolescence: Toward Healthy Self-Esteem

Happy Adolescence: Toward Healthy Self-Esteem


Happy Adolescence: Toward Healthy Self-Esteem


Adolescence can bring your child some happy and memorable times. There may be many exciting things going on in their life, and friends, fun, dreams, and love attain new meanings and importance. When a teenager has poor self-esteem, however, competition, bullies, feeling ugly, and even self-harm, pain, and suicide can figure more prominently, dominating their thoughts and blemishing what’s supposed to be a happy adolescence.

During adolescence, having friends and discovering identity takes center stage. If they see themselves as different, undesirable, and unlovable, they are vulnerable to developing poor self-esteem.


Self-Esteem: What Is It?

Self-esteem refers to how people perceive themselves. The key to the development of healthy self-esteem is “personal satisfaction with areas of life that the individual deems to be important,” according to Understanding Teenagers. Psychology Today states that “It is not real in the sense that it can be visually examined, physically touched, or directly observed,” like a brain or IQ score. The presence and function/value of self-esteem are inferred or deduced through behavior and responses.

Teens with healthy self-esteem are likely “to: a) feel good about themselves; b) feel proud of what they can do; c) believe in themselves, even when they don’t succeed at first; d) see their own good qualities, such as being kind or capable; e) feel liked, loved, and respected; f) accept themselves, even when they make mistakes.”

On the contrary, with poor self-esteem your teen can: “a) have a negative image of themselves and may feel bad, ugly, unlikeable or stupid; b) lack confidence; c) find it hard to make and keep friendships, and may feel victimised by others; d) tend to avoid new things and find change hard; e) can’t deal well with failure; and f) tend to put themselves down and might say things like ‘I’m stupid’ or ‘I can’t do that’ (before they have tried).”

What’s worse for a teen with low self-esteem is that they can also be at higher risk for emotional issues and conditions—depression, anxiety, self-harm, etc. These conditions may stand in the way of initiating and sustaining fulfilling relationships, affecting their happiness beyond adolescence. People who feel unsure of themselves often find it difficult to get through the usual ups and downs of life.


Self-Esteem Is Important

Self-esteem is important because it touches every facet of your teenager’s life. It affects their emotional health, behavior, and interactions with other people. Their success and happiness are founded on it. Body image is only one aspect of it, but how they see their physical attributes can affect their overall self-esteem.

Teens with a healthy self-image have the confidence and courage to explore, experience, and taste life to the fullest. They are inclined to be optimistic, believing that doing their best is good enough and that failures are just part of living and learning. Thus, healthy self-esteem can increase your child’s chance of a happy life beyond adolescence.

Conversely, poor self-esteem can hurt your child. They can feel alone and unsure of themselves. They will be perpetually hounded by “what-ifs,” not having the courage to try new things. At a time when adolescent children are searching for identity, how they perceive themselves is critical.


Teens Are Vulnerable

Adolescents are vulnerable to developing poor self-image because of the dramatic emotional and physical changes assaulting their brains and bodies. Changes happen throughout life, but “there are huge leaps in development during adolescence,” said expert Sara Johnson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The strong influence of friends increases their vulnerability. They are eager to belong to certain cliques and be accepted by their peers. Developing too early or too late, or not looking like the person they admire or idolize, can lead to difficulty with self-acceptance. The media flaunting the “ideal looks” of celebrities doesn’t help. Influences from family, school, and society may also inadvertently contribute to your teenager’s poor self-esteem.

In this quest for self-identity and with their raging hormones, teenagers tend to be fearless and experimental. If they have a poor perception of themselves, it may lead them into the wrong company, bringing them to harm. Smoking, substance abuse, partying, dropping out of school, and teen parenthood are just some adverse possibilities when they start to seek their identities in the wrong direction.


The Outlook: There Is Hope

There is an additional fact that you need to know about self-esteem: it can be developed. A person’s self-esteem changes throughout life, so it isn’t too late to help your teen. Knowing that a nurturing environment and therapy can help develop healthy self-esteem is a comfort.

So, If you see that your adolescent child feels unhappy about how they look or tends to think the worst of themselves, be prompt in recognizing the signs of poor self-esteem. Proactive and empowered parents will not wait for poor self-esteem to make things more challenging for their child. They will not hesitate to seek professional help from Carolina Counseling Services Pinehurst, NC, as a preemptive option to boost their teen’s self-image.

An empowered parent knows that working with an independently child therapist contracted with Carolina Counseling Services Pinehurst, NC, isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, they will consider it a positive stance to capably and lovingly support their child in developing healthy self-esteem.


Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, Hoke County, Chatham County

Areas: Pinehurst NC, West End NC, Taylortown NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Jackson Springs NC, Foxfire NC, Candor NC, Norman NC, Ellerbe NC, Rockingham NC

Zip Codes: 27281, 27376, 28315, 28347, 28350, 28373, 28374, 28387, 28388, 28394

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Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
Insurance: BCBSTricare Prime/Select, Medicare and Cash
Credit Cards:  
Location: Pinehurst, NC

Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash
Credit Cards:  
Location: Pinehurst, NC

Counseling Information

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Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

45 Dowd Circle Suite 5
PinehurstNC 28374

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PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311