Hey my friends . . . This has been a rough year for everyone, but especially for teenagers. Many have missed out on experiences that define the teenage years – things like prom, homecoming, and even just defining who you are in a group of friends. Covid has caused more problems for teen mental health than we can care to think about. Here are 3 Tips to Boost Teens Self-Esteem.

I’m Jeff Yalden, teen mental health and suicide prevention expert with Here Tomorrow in Neptune Beach, I’ve been working with schools and school communities for the past thirty years.  Teens are my love and passion.

Listen, a teenager’s social-emotional development is also hinged on their brain development, hormones and neurotransmitters.

Erik Erikson’s theory of development says that it is during this time that an adolescent will begin to develop and question their own sense of self. In this day of social media, it is becoming more difficult to find who you are and where you belong. Teens are inundated with images that speak to their worth and comparison of others.

A pioneer in social media and the psychology of its impact on esteem and mental health is Jonathan Bertrand. Bertrand’s position is that social media use has a profound impact on the development of self and often interferes with mental health and esteem-related issues. Combine that with Erikson’s work and you have a bit of a potentially disastrous combination.

With that being said, I want to share with you 3 Tips to help teens boost their self-esteem.

Tip #1: Avoid excessive exposure to social media 

More than 4-5 hours a day . . . 70% more likely to have major depression and other mental health conditions.  So, when possible, eliminate or really reduce the use of social media.  Let me add emphasis to social media being recognized as part of one’s self-esteem issues.  

Here is the deal, If your teen struggles with body image, lifestyle comparison or feelings of inadequacy then social media may be a piece of that puzzle. 

Here is what I am suggesting . . . Setting some limits, like turning off all technology a couple of hours before bed and limited overall time on social media.  Trust me, this is a good place to start.

However, this might be difficult as you get resistance. You might then consider having some conversations about social media and its impact and invite your teen into the conversation rather than it being a lecture.  After 24 hours, you’ll think you have a new teenager.

Tip  #2: Use thought stopping

Another strategy is to use thought-stopping. Here is what that is.  We cannot control a thought when it comes into your head, but we can control what we do with the thought. Don’t hang on to a negative thought.  Instead, say ‘stop’ and think of something else. Over time this will help to create new neural connections in your brain instead of circling the negativity drain

Helping teens understand they can have control over how they handle thoughts is a powerful way to build self-esteem.  Think of it this way, situations become thoughts.  Thoughts become feelings.  Feelings become behaviors.  Stop the negative thoughts.  Another term for this is Behavioral Activation.  If it’s not right . . . Change the thought.

Tip #3: Build mastery

Find an activity that you enjoy and work toward building mastery. This will not only encourage you to find a group of people with similar interests, but it will also build your sense of worth within yourself and within the group. Start by sampling some things that you have a a little of interest in and explore them. If it is a sport, commit to the season. If it is a new hobby or club, give it at least 3 months of your time. Building mastery is a great way to solidify your confidence. 

Put down the devices and get more involved.

Contact Jeff today. (CLICK HERE)

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