Building Your Teenager’s Self-Esteem: Connectiveness

In my last post we discussed the varied components of building self-esteem in your teenager.  The first component was to insure that they were connected.  We also talked about what connectiveness looked like for a teenager.

“How do I create connectiveness for my teenager?” That is a valuable question to ask.

14 practical tips any parent can do to build your teen’s self-esteem

Here are some practical suggestions for parents to create a strong sense of connectiveness in their teenager:

African American mom and teen son
Smiles and hugs can help your teen feel more connected
  • increase the amount of physical affection that you show
  • show more positive feelings with facial expressions
  • tell them in words when you feel good about them
  • make your praise specific and descriptive
  • offer praise for good interpersonal relationships
  • share your feelings with them
  • share your interests, hobbies, activities and family experiences
  • listen without judging
  • do something special that acknowledges their special needs
  • provide opportunities for all family members to work and play together
  • formulate and communicate clear family policies and regulations
  • increase opportunities for all family members to share personal matters
  • clarify people’s roles within the family
  • foster positive solutions of interpersonal problems among family members

Here’s an example

Let’s look at an interesting example of creating connectiveness in an athletic situation.

At one school, a group of adolescents participated in a sports team that lost many games, some in the last few seconds. Through it all, the self-esteem of the team members remained remarkably high because the coach consistently promoted a strong sense of connection as a team. He nurtured the sense that each person belonged and was important to the team–win or lose.  This sense of sharing the connected experience was the primary reason the adolescents felt so good about themselves regardless of how many games they won or lost.

Lasting impact

It is so important to understand that teenagers need to be connected to their peers and families, even though they may not state this need specifically.

guitar session
Sharing interests can connect you with your teen

Therefore, parents should move towards their teenagers with these practical suggestions and create as many opportunities as possible to help them connect. In so doing, you will be helping to raise their self-esteem and providing them with a strong sense of belonging and sense of security.

What a great gift to them…one which will impact the rest of their lives!

Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

*Some information taken from Understanding Teens, Diane Wagenhals, 2007

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