7 Ways of Helping Your Teen Build Feelings of Self-Worth


In the words of Carl E Pickhardt from Psychology Today, self-worth influences our relationships, especially at home. He explains that family members who do not feel good about themselves tend to act badly towards other members.

The worse they treat others, the worse they get treated and the less happy they are. He emphasizes that self-esteem, especially during teenage years, is important to create healthy and happy individuals. Parents therefore need to help their teen in building self-worth.

Self-worth or self-esteem is an abstract psychological concept which describes a part of an individual’s nature.

It is directly linked with how we identify and evaluate our definition of self. Positive self-esteem is crucial for our well-being throughout life, particularly in teenage years when teens face normal ups and downs.

While being “trialed” by the numerous challenges of adolescence, self-worth will help your teen treat themselves with understanding and tolerance.

Otherwise, negative experiences and impulsive decisions could easily lead to additional problems, mistakes, and disappointment. This may gradually continue to decrease the teen’s self-worth.

In this report, we will explain why self-worth is so important for teens and provide parents with 7 ways to help boost your teen’s feeling of self-worth.

It must be noted that self-worth cannot avert wrongdoing nor does it ensure accomplishment.

Parents need to be aware that a too low or a too high self-worth can result in issues, so it’s very important that children learn as early as possible, how to work on achieving a balance in their self-esteem.

Sometimes unaware, you are promoting or diminishing your teen’s self- worth; therefore, parents need to be more aware of their actions and words.


Why Self-Worth Matters for Your Teen?

As The Child Development Institute explains, the self-worth of children matters for their overall success and happiness in life. How your child feels about himself/herself can be seen in their behavior. When your teen has a strong self-worth, he/she is capable of:

  • Coping with frustrating feelings
  • Offering a helping hand to others
  • Managing positive and negative feelings
  • Feeling proud of their accomplishments
  • Acting independently
  • Assuming responsibility

At this point, it is important to mention that self-worth and self-confidence are not the same things. Though connected (the greater the self-worth, the bigger the self-confidence and vice versa), according to Healthy Place, self-worth is about the self-love one has and it’s a result of experiences and situations.

Self-confidence has to do with how one feels about their abilities and it may not be of the same amount in all situations. For example, your teen may have sufficient self-worth, but they may feel low self-confidence towards their math skills.

A child with a low self-worth is usually characterized by the following behaviors:

  • Not keen on trying new things
  • Feeling unwanted and unloved
  • Blaming others for their “failures”
  • Emotional indifference, real or fake
  • Inability to tolerate normal levels of frustration
  • Unappreciative of their talents and skills
  • Easily influenced by others


Estimates point out that up to half of adolescents will experience low self worth levels in their teenage years.

If you are a parent who wants to work on instilling self-worth in their teenagers, check out these 7 useful tips on how to achieve this.

7 Ways to Boost Your Teen’s Self-Worth

  1. Use praise in the right manner

When praising your child, make sure you do it both for accomplishments and efforts, and even when the desired results were not achieved.

Encourage them to feel good and proud about themselves and help them make it something that comes from within. Avoid praise for praise sake where it may become relied upon and sought after as an external source of approval.

When complimenting your teenager, be careful and avoid giving compliments that may seem insincere, patronizing and too frequent. The child could suspect that their mom or dad is just trying to make them feel better. This may have the reverse effect despite the good intentions.

  1. Teach them self-compassion

Self-compassion is when we do not judge ourselves, but show ourselves more kindness, acceptance, openness and forgiveness.

By helping your child be more self-compassionate, you are helping them minimize the constant need for “doing more” and “having more” and to realize that they are good enough.

A self-compassionate teen accepts his/her flaws easier and knows that others have the same or similar struggles. Therefore, they can show more compassion towards others.

Margarita Tartakovsky from Psych Central offers 5 useful tips on how to teach your child self-compassion, including the loving-kindness meditation and avoidance of catastrophic thinking.

  1. Do not encourage social comparison