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How can we improve teenagers’ self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the cornerstone of a teenager’s emotional well-being, shaping their confidence, decision-making abilities, and overall satisfaction in life. As caring adults, it’s crucial for us to understand the profound impact our words and actions can have on a teenager’s self-esteem.

Do you remember something said during your middle or high school years that significantly influenced your self-esteem, either positively or negatively? These moments can linger in our memories, shaping our perceptions of ourselves for years to come.

Low self-esteem has long-lasting effects

Low self-esteem can manifest in various ways in teenagers, including diminished confidence, avoidance of risks, withdrawal or isolation, struggles with decision-making, difficulty asserting boundaries, and negative self-talk. Moreover, it can predispose them to anxiety, depression, loneliness, and even addiction later in life.

At Teen Life we believe:

Teenagers Deserve Connection

Every teenager deserves meaningful connections that validate their experiences and emotions.

Teenagers Have Strengths and Gifts

Instead of viewing teenagers as problems to be solved, we recognize their unique strengths and potential.

Teenagers Are Not Problems to Be Solved

We aim to support teenagers in building positive connections and cultivating their inner strength and confidence, enabling them to learn from failures and grow into resilient individuals.

How can adults improve a teenager’s low self-esteem?

As adults, we play a pivotal role in nurturing teenagers’ self-esteem. Here are some practical strategies to support them:


  1. Believe in Their Potential
    Treat teenagers as capable and worthy of love, instilling confidence in their abilities.

  2. Offer Unconditional Love and Encouragement
    Provide consistent support and encouragement, regardless of their successes or failures.
  3. Engage in Non-Judgmental Conversations
    Encourage open dialogue about actions and thoughts, viewing failures as opportunities for growth rather than shortcomings.
  4. Model Positive Self-Talk
    Demonstrate healthy self-talk and challenge negative thought patterns when they arise.
  5. Be Available and Ask Good Questions
    Make yourself available for conversations and ask thoughtful questions to understand their perspectives and concerns.

Tips for Teens

For teenagers seeking to enhance their self-esteem, consider the following tips:

Help Others: Engage in acts of kindness, such as volunteering or mentoring, to experience the gratification of making a positive impact.

Focus on Improvement: Rather than aiming for perfection, focus on improving one skill or aspect of yourself at a time.

Challenge Negative Thought Patterns: Practice recognizing and challenging negative thoughts, replacing them with positive affirmations.

Surround Yourself with Supportive Influences: Seek out supportive relationships and activities that uplift and encourage you to thrive.

Nurturing self-esteem in teenagers requires a collaborative effort between caring adults and adolescents themselves. By fostering positive connections, celebrating strengths, and embracing growth opportunities, we can empower teenagers to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and resilience. Together, we can build a community where every teenager feels valued, capable, and worthy of love.

Also in this episode

  • Zyn nicotine pouches are increasingly popular among middle school and high school students.
  • Gen alpha terms and trends that are especially popular among boys: looksmaxxing, mewing, mogging, bonesmashing.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about zyns, self-esteem, and looksmaxxing.

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About Us

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Caleb Hatchett

Caleb Hatchett

Podcast Host

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