6 Ways to Improve Your
Teens Self Perception
By: Cathlene Miner
As a woman who has had over 29 years of mentoring experience (physically and mentally) under my belt, and a mother of 4, I am well aware of the challenges our youth face. Self-image and self-perception are key points of emphasis for me when I work with clients, male or female, adults or teens. Both of these topics affect every area of our lives and dictate the way we make decisions. Positive self-image and self-perception can either make or break our dreams and sometimes ruin our day. I have found that the struggle of developing a positive self-image and self-perception stays with many people into adulthood. How do we help our teenagers overcome this and develop a more positive self-image and positive self-perception through a period of life where they are pressured to feel the opposite?
#1) Lead by example for your Teens.
I have found through years of research and my own personal experience with raising teens that girls and women struggle more with their self-image and self-perception, but to be clear boys and men sometimes do too. How could we not? Every magazine, social media outlet, and commercial we see on television portrays the “perfect” body and urges you to use filters to cover up imperfections. The best way to show your teen how to treat themselves is to treat yourself well first.
Children have a tendency of copying what their parents do. Your inner monologue may very well end up being theirs. Treating yourself well and having a healthy lifestyle will rub off on your teenager. When we walk with confidence, our children will tend to do the same.
#2) Just because you're in the same house doesn't mean you are together
I get it. Most teens want to spend a lot of time in their rooms. Trust your gut on how much time in their room is too much time. With computers and social media, there is access to so many things. Sometimes things they didn't even know about and frankly do not need to know about will peak their curiosity and then they search for more. With algorithms, they are fed more of that very thing that may not have their best interest in mind. Keep up with what your kids are doing on their phones. Remember you are the parent and you have a right to know. There are apps out there that can help you monitor. if needed. I know life is busy and sometimes the last thing you feel like your teen wants to do is visit with you, but go in their room, set up a movie night at home, play board games. This helps to remind them that their family does love them and does have their best interest at heart even when the online world is making them feel differently. Believe me on this, it can change everything.
#3) Positive Reinforcement for your Teen
One of the best ways to boost your teen’s self-image and improve their inner monologue is to tell them the things you want them to tell themselves. Most self-image and self-perception issues are created in the mind. We know as adults that when we feel poorly about ourselves, we generally create a world around us that mirrors that. This isn’t something we want for our children as they are making decisions that will impact their entire lives.
You may get the, "You have to say that, you are my parent". But keep saying it anyway.
Teenagers don’t see life as a whole just yet. They truly believe that when something feels like the end of the world, it really is. By speaking to them positively and creating a dialogue for them, we are assisting in teaching our teens how to create one for themselves. This is a habit they will carry for the rest of their lives.
#4) Opening the line of communication with your Teen.
Creating a safe space for your teen to talk openly about their insecurities is incredibly important. Typically, teens are apprehensive to speak to their parents about their personal areas of struggle. However, as parents, we are the best equipped in their lives to help them overcome these obstacles. Even though they do not always see it that way. Teens need to understand that they deserve to be listened to and their opinions matter. How you make them feel about their thoughts will dictate how they create boundaries and stand up for themselves as adults.
Communication is absolutely integral for a plethora of reasons. When our teens are able to speak to us, they will be able to speak to others. Words are powerful when it comes to setting boundaries in our adult lives and staying true to what we know we deserve. Teens create healthy boundaries within their families first and then implement those same boundaries with their friends and in relationships outside of their homes.
Some parents have even set a specific room in the house called a “Safe Room” or a “Safe Space” that is a designated area to speak about important issues with their teens. Whenever you and your teen enter that room they are free to speak about whatever is ailing them with no judgment. Being proactive about this line of communication not only makes your teen feel safe and heard but also gives you the ability to teach them how to communicate their feelings and act on them successfully.
#5) Give your Teens the resources they need.
Let’s face it, we don’t have the answers to every question. Our teens face personal inner battles just as we adults do. Some things may be difficult for them to talk to us about. That doesn’t mean we don’t want those personal battles to be addressed and solved.
Giving your teen trusted outlets for help and support not only shows that you acknowledge their blooming independence, but it also shows trust and allows them to learn how to solve problems they have for themselves. Maybe ask them if they feel they can talk to you about the way they feel or maybe an adult at school. I know we wish our kids would always tell us everything as parents but teens may not. I am sure you would like for your teen to talk with someone trusted even if it's not you. It is certainly better than your teen relying on advice from peers that may have their own issues to deal with. Remind your teen that you will understand if they ask to see a counselor or equivalent.
#6) Do things with your Teen together.
It is important to choose an activity that you and your teen can enjoy together. For instance, doing “The 30 Day Self Perception Makeover” with your teen is a great way to not only improve yourself but also help your teen. It’s important for teens to see their parents constantly improving themselves. This makes them feel like they are free and safe to do it themselves. When you do these self-improvement activities with them, you are able to guide them and teach them through the process.
Your teens’ friendships will come and go throughout their entire lives. This is a difficult reality, but one that has to be accepted. The most important relationship they will ever have is the one that is fostered by you. You should be the first line of defense for your teenager. This allows us to guide them through their most integral decision-making and become their safe space to land.
In finality, we can note that the most important aspect of helping a teen gain a positive self-image and self-perception is communication and along with that comes trust. These two are the most important in any type of relationship. Speaking openly with your teen and asking questions is incredibly important when gauging what needs to be done for your teen. If you feel like something is not right and that you need to dig deeper into your teen's life you probably do.
When we are able to talk to our children, we are able to help them and put them on the path to success.
If you are looking for more resources to help you or your child, visit www.cathleneminer.com/contact.
Confidence in our teens first begins with confidence within you. Remember to always lead by example with your child. If you want them to have healthy habits, then show them what healthy habits look like. If you want them to love themselves, you must first show them how well you love yourself. To purchase the book “The 30 Day Self Perception Makeover” for both teens and women, you can visit here.