Low Self-Esteem in Children & Teenagers
Low self-esteem can be a problem at any age. Children may suffer from degrees of low self-confidence although it may not become a noticeable problem till their teenage years.
Low self-confidence and concerns about being judged by their peers may lead to negative thoughts and feelings; particularly feelings of low self-esteem.
Teenagers particularly may be inclined to judge themselves harshly in relation to others, and may even receive negative reinforcement as teenagers can sometimes be spiteful and ungenerous in their appraisal of those not seen as part of the group.
Teenagers and young people can feel under enormous pressure to conform to the values of their peers, and to fit in and as a result may feel unconfident in the presence of other people.
This may also be a time of experimentation and can see the start of habits and addictions such as smoking, often as a result of peer pressure.
Low self-confidence and low self-esteem are often confused with each other. Confidence is usually linked with a particular skill or ability, and when people complain of being unconfident they are usually referring to feelings of discomfort and a lack of ease in social situations.
Esteem really refers to the value the individual places on themselves so a lack of self-esteem is usually experienced as not feeling valuable or worthy, or in particular as being less in some way compared with those around them.
A combination of stress, low self-confidence and low self-esteem can all conspire to produce irritability and shortness of temper, or at worst feelings of depression and hopelessness.
Teenage years are a time of change physically, mentally and emotionally, and many parents seem to forget just how difficult the teenage transition can be. Raging hormones and feelings of being ‘different’ only help to make the situation worse.
If your child is experiencing any of these problems, especially if they are unwilling or unable to discuss them with you, now might be the time to seek outside professional help. For an informal chat and appraisal of the situation please give me a call.