National Teen Self-Esteem Month: Paving The Way To a Brighter Future

May marks not only the beginning of warmer weather in the metropolitan area, but it also represents a time to heighten our awareness around crucial issues affecting the youth. National Teen Self-Esteem Month gives youth and adults time to think deeply about the importance of having self-esteem as a teen, and how to potentially heighten teen self-esteem. Incorporating knowledge and empowerment is crucial when it comes to the topic of self-esteem. If you don’t know, then you can’t execute. If you don’t feel empowered, then you can’t empower. It has to start somewhere and then spread. So without further ado, let’s explore teen self-esteem. 

The Importance of National Teen Self-Esteem Month

Self-esteem, or the way we perceive or value ourselves, is something that affects everyone. How much self-esteem we have impacts our behavior, enjoyment of life, goals, aspirations, and relationships. According to a newsletter by The National Council for Hypnotherapy, regarding National Teen Self-Esteem Month, instilling positive self-worth in young people from an early age is crucial. It also states that it’s very important for positive self-esteem development to be supported at home, at school, and by the local community. 

It is also important to consider the statistics from the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey done by the CDC. It reported that nearly three to five teen girls felt persistent sadness in 2021, double the rate of boys. The Learning Network, a site that helps educators and students teach and learn, invited a group of students to analyze the data and share their reactions. Some students shared that they felt their sadness was finally being validated, and have hopes of making a change to the issue. A few students also shared their experiences struggling with their mental health and were glad that adults were finally having a conversation about the topic, and were acknowledging their pain.

Students pointed out how social media has given them a platform to talk about their struggles, while they also acknowledged the fact that social media has contributed to those struggles as well. As far as solutions to the issues of mental health and low self-esteem among the youth, the students shared that treating the issue with more care was important, as well as having stronger relationships within their homes, communities, and schools. 

Overall, giving more support to our teen community seems to be one of the best solutions. Having a shoulder to lean on during times of stress and having a space to share growing pains is a great way to start to positively contribute to your teen brothers, sisters, cousins, sons, or daughters. 

Dealing with the Memories of Bullying

As I said, self-esteem is something that affects everyone. Similarly, bullying is something that a lot of teenagers deal with, while adults may deal with the aftermath. Whether it be physical or emotional bullying, dealing with consistent insults and picking at your insecurities can be almost too much for a teen to navigate, especially without the proper guidance. Intervention from an outside source–a parent or school official–and having high self-esteem to be able to defend yourself when being bullied are extremely important. Also having the right support systems, as we discussed above, can be crucial as well. Having parents that spend time with their teens, encouraging and teaching them to be assertive, is also cited as a way of building teen self-esteem. Without support, these teens may have to deal with the repercussions in their adulthood. 

Here’s my personal experience as an adult who dealt with bullying during my teens and what I and my friends now have to do to counter the effects. 

As I said, I was bullied. As a result, all my life, I had to struggle with anxiety. Doubting myself, being scared to show my true colors, being made fun of, and even avoiding social gatherings have been constants in my life. My friends have also experienced bullying, and have dealt with the same things. Sometimes, on a late night at the end of a long work week, my friends and I talk about our high school days. We discuss mental health struggles, how much we disliked our bodies, and moments when our deepest flaws were pointed out. Looking back, we didn’t have the tools kids have now to navigate bullying. This includes the knowledge and the use of social media platforms to come together and share our stories. 

We also discuss how, now as adults, we are basically undoing the negative mindsets we once had for ourselves. We’re slowly but surely trying new things and jumping into new social environments. While we had different parents, we all had our own versions of parental neglect that highly affected the way we lived in and thought about the world. While we can’t undo the bullying and low self-esteem we had as teens, what we can do now is nurture our adult selves, pay our current knowledge about the issue forward, and pour into the teen family members growing up around us. 

How to Heighten a Teen’s Self-Esteem

If you are a teen, know a teen, or are currently raising one, and have no idea where to start when it comes to heightening self-esteem, here are a few pointers. Teaching your teen to say “no” is a great place to start, according to Sherri Gordon, author of 13 Ways to Build Self-Esteem and Prevent Bullying. Gordon explains that is very important that parents make sure their child is comfortable with saying no, especially when it comes to saying no to things like wild parties or dangerous drugs. Another suggestion Gordon gives to parents is to make sure that parents acknowledge their teen’s good choices. She notes that kids are most likely to believe in themselves and their abilities when they receive positive reinforcement when they do something right

In short, teens need support systems. Whether a teen needs a kind word, a hug, or guidance, give it to them. Navigating life only gets more intricate as you get older, so building high self-esteem in our youth today makes a more empowered, happy, and informed youth tomorrow and for days to come!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *