Building Self-Esteem in Kids & Teens

top view of young girl sitting at a desk and writing in a notebook

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem can be described as how you see and feel about yourself. When you look in the mirror, what are the first thoughts that come to your mind about yourself? If you had to say the first five characteristics or qualities that came to your head when asked “How would you describe yourself” what would those words or feelings be? In other words, self-esteem needs to come from WITHIN you!

Self-esteem is usually described as being “good or bad”, “high or low” or “negative/positive,” but in reality, we all experience various levels of self-esteem throughout our days, weeks, months and years. What is most important is that we think positively about ourselves more often than not. Our inner voice should be our most important cheerleader and supporter.

The good news is that you can improve your self-esteem with practice!

Why does self-esteem matter?

Positive self-esteem is so important for kids and teens. It can have a significant impact on a child’s attitude, energy level, and their ability to learn and grow.

Self-esteem also plays a role in motivation and success. It can factor into a child’s respond to peer pressure and their ability to make healthy choices.

How can we build positive self-esteem?

Parents and positive role models can influence self-esteem in daily life in many simple ways. Model positive self-esteem and confidence, focus on your child’s strengths, praise effort – not just end result, avoid criticism and let them learn and practice new things.

Let’s work on it together!

As preparations for the school year begin, we encourage you to work on building your child’s self-esteem. Each week through the start of the school year, we will be releasing a video featuring Jen Bills, pediatric nurse practitioner with Mercer Health’s Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness, explaining how to create a “My Me” book.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Watch the video and work through the steps with your child each week. After the fifth week, your child will have a “My Me” book that they can use throughout the school year to help them remember all of the wonderful qualities that make them special.