17 Activities To Improve Self-Esteem In Teens

17 Activities To Improve Self-Esteem In Teens

IN THIS ARTICLE

Has your teen been acting broody and weepy? Have they been reluctant to meet people and want to spend time in their room?

It is not easy to be a teen in today’s competitive world. Peer pressure, body issues, harsh competition in every field, puberty, high expectations from parents and other pressures can lead a teenage girl or boy to think that they are not cut out to survive, let alone succeed.

Your teen is no different. As a parent, you would want to support your child and make them come out of it. MomJunction helps you do that as we tell you the reasons for low self-esteem, its signs, and activities to improve self-esteem in teens.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves and our capabilities. Low self-esteem leads us to doubt and underrate our capabilities and beliefs, and makes us have negative thoughts about ourselves.

What causes low self-esteem in teens?

Your teen can develop low self-esteem due to a number of events happening in their life. Some of them are (1):

  1. Disturbances in family life
  2. Parenting style
  3. Difficulties in school work
  4. Weight issues
  5. Bullying in school
  6. Lack of friends
  7. Inability to ‘fit’ in with others
  8. Emotional or social discrimination
  9. Medical problems

In each case, your teen might blame themselves for the situation and think it’s their fault.

How do you know if your teen has low self-esteem?

If you spot a few or more of the following signs in your teen, they are, probably, having low self-esteem.

  • Showing emotional indifference
  • A tendency to avoid new things or experiences
  • Difficulty in interacting with peers and friends
  • Low levels of motivation and enthusiasm
  • Persistent fear of embarrassment or failure
  • High levels of frustration
  • Negative self-talk
  • Problem making new friends

If your teen has low self-esteem, they might tend to avoid situations with risks of failure. In extreme cases, low self-esteem can lead to long-term problems.

Long-term effects of low self-esteem in your teen

Low self-esteem need not always result in something harmful or bad for the teen, especially if you identify and address it in time. In some cases, it might lead to long-term effects, including:

  • Anxiety issues
  • Panic attacks
  • Relationship problems
  • Body image issues
  • Reliance on alcohol or drugs to feel better
  • Depression

All these can be avoided with some effort from the parent and the child.

Activities to Improve self-esteem in your teen

Apart from your support and encouragement, you can motivate your teen with some interesting activities (2) to boost their self-esteem and make them confident. Here are some such activities you may try:

1. Certificate of wins

Certificate of wins

Image: Shutterstock

With this activity, make your teen realize all the good things they have achieved and visualize their coming achievements.

What to do:

  • Divide the chart into four sections: The first phase of life (5-9 years), the second phase (10-14 years), recent successes and success wanted in the next five years.
  • Encourage your teen to fill up the sections with color markers and put the chart up in their room.
  • The chart would be a giant certificate of all their successes.

What they learn:

This worksheet helps them see that there are many things that they have achieved in their life and they have the capability to achieve more in the future. This exercise helps boost their confidence.

2. Coat of arms/ family crest

If your teen is creative or loves painting, this activity provides a creative outlet for them and helps build their confidence.

What to do:

  • Make your teen summarize the coat of arms with the tagline, ‘What makes me great’.
  • Individual sections of the coat of arms should reflect what makes your teen a good sibling, friend, child, and person.

What they learn:

Having a personal coat of arms will make your teen feel great about themselves. Listing out reasons why they are great will make them realize they are a good person.

3. Positive affirmation day

Positive affirmation day

Image: iStock

Observe a positive affirmation day at your home once a week for your teenager to feel confident and affable. This can work wonders in boosting their self-esteem.

What to do:

  • On this day, instruct your teen to say and think positive about themselves.
  • You and your family members should reaffirm those positive qualities your teen comes up with. For example, if your teen thinks they are great at certain household chores, affirm that point and tell them you are proud of them.
  • However, be realistic and do not credit the teen with something that they don’t actually possess.

What they learn:

Your teen finds that they have several things that they are good at and other people agree with their qualities.

4. Positive goals diary

This activity makes your teen identify their goals and ways to achieve them. Your teen can do the activity by themselves or collaborate with you.

What to do:

  • The activity is divided into two sections — ‘Setting goals’ and ‘Obstructions and strategies’.
  • Under the first section, ask your teen to write the goals they want to achieve in the next few days, next one month, one year and the coming five years.
  • In the next section, tell them to write down how they plan to achieve the goals and what problems they might face.

What they learn:

Setting goals and building plans and strategies to achieve them will give your teen a sense of purpose. This activity will make them a much more positive person and less afraid of the risks involved.

5. The flip book of mistakes

The flip book of mistakes

Image: iStock

This activity will help your teen learn lessons from their past mistakes and grow above them. It will help them to ‘flip’ their failures into success.

What to do:

  • Instruct your teen to write down their failures or the mistakes from the past that have affected them the most.
  • Tell them to note down what they think are the possible reasons for the failures.
  • In the next section, encourage them to come up with solutions to avoid similar problems in the future.

What they learn:

This activity helps your teen realize that failure is a part of life and failures can be utilized for greater successes. This helps them curb the negativity from any failure in their life.

6. Sentence completion worksheet

This exercise will help your teen become comfortable sharing their thoughts with others, making it easier for them to work on their self-worth. The activity is intended to help them explore their feelings and emotions.

What to do:

  • Come up with open-ended questions like, ‘I feel my future is,’ ‘The thing I am most afraid of,’ ‘I wish I could,’ ‘I love when,’ ‘I struggle when,’ ‘Today is going to be’.
  • Ask your teen to answer these at the end of each day.
  • Compare the trend of their answers after two weeks.

What they learn:

When this activity is done in addition to other positive behaviors, the responses gradually turn more positive. The activity gives an insight into how to be happy in life.

7. Gratitude journal

Gratitude journal

Image: Shutterstock

Maintaining a gratitude journal can be immensely satisfying for your teen and help them feel more positive about life and themselves.

What to do:

  • Every day, instruct your teen to record at least two things they were grateful of in their life.
  • Tell them to increase the number gradually.
  • At the end of two weeks or a month, compare the recordings.

What they learn:

Studies (3) have shown that regular expression of gratitude leads to greater optimism, improved relationships and better quality of living. It also improves our sense of self-worth.

8. Negative self-talk exercise

Negative self-talk is an important reason behind low self-esteem. The following activity, if practized regularly, will help your teen reduce the cycle of negative self-talk and make them a more positive person.

What to do:

  • This activity is divided into four sections. In the first section, tell your teen to write down the thought that triggers a negative thought.
  • In the second section, let them explain the negative thought in detail; feelings associated with the negative thought, in the third section; and evidence that do not support their thought, in the fourth section.
  • They then need to come up with an alternative positive thought to replace the original negative one and examine how the positive thought makes them feel.

What they learn:

Your teen learns that more often, the negative thought is an exaggeration and that negative thoughts do not define them.

9. Core belief challenge

Core belief challenge

Image: Shutterstock

Your teen might be carrying false, semi-conscious beliefs that might be undermining their sense of pride or worth. It is important to spring clean their beliefs like you spring clean your house in order to make your teen a more positive person. This activity will help you do that.

What to do:

  • Make your teen identify three negative core beliefs and provide three reasons why each belief is not true.
  • Write them down.

What they learn:

This activity will help your teen to challenge their wrong beliefs and make them realize that every negative belief they hold is not true. It will teach them to move beyond presumptions and excel.

10. Assertive communication records

Underdeveloped communication skills may lead to low self-esteem and vice versa. This activity will be beneficial to them.

What to do:

  • Tell your teen to record three instances where they had asserted themselves in a communication process and how they felt being assertive.
  • If there are no such instances, then it can be their goal to be assertive in the future.

What they learn:

Your teen learns that it is okay to say no and they should stand up for themselves more often.

11. Self-appreciation chart

Self-appreciation chart

Image: Shutterstock

In order to develop healthy self-esteem, it is important to appreciate ourselves. This activity will help your teen become more confident.

What to do:

  • Let your teen write one good thing about themselves, on a chart every day.
  • It can start with something small and progress to more meaningful qualities.

What they learn:

Your teen learns to appreciate and love themselves.

12. Positive word of the day

This exercise helps the teen have a positive outlook. Over time, your teen would learn to have a positive outlook irrespective of the circumstances.

What to do:

  • Ask your teen to come up with a positive word that goes with one good act they did that day.
  • For example, if they helped do the dishes, they can come up with the word ‘helpful’.

What they learn:

Doing this exercise reassures your teen that there are a lot of good qualities in them, and they are capable of doing things that are admirable.

13. Body appreciation mirror time

Body appreciation mirror time

Image: iStock

If your teen is a victim of body image issues, then this activity might be just right for them. It will teach them to love their body, no matter how it is.

What to do:

  • Tell your teen to stand in front of the mirror and come up with three things that they find beautiful in them.
  • Make them do this exercise regularly for better results.

What they learn:

Your teen learns to appreciate themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. Over time, they will learn to let go of their body-image issues.

14. Motivational quote challenge

It can be a great bonding activity for everybody in the family and also a self-esteem exercise for your teen.

What to do:

  • Tell your teen to come up with three motivational quotes every day to inspire them to take up bigger challenges.
  • You can have a family discussion on them to go deep into the meaning of the quotes.
  • The quotes can be quirky, humorous and interesting.

What they learn:

This activity helps develop a positive outlook and encourage the teen to do something better every day.

15. Body language test

Body language test

Image: iStock

This exercise is crucial for your teen to curb their self-criticism and negative energy that can eat away their self-worth.

What to do:

  • Tell your teen to observe their body language in a mirror when they are having a negative thought.
  • Then ask them to replace it with a positive thought and observe their body language again.
  • Let them write down the differences they can see between both the cases.

What they learn:

This exercise will help them in controlling the negative thoughts they have by observing their body language. They also understand the importance of positive body language and the impression it gives to others.

16. Letter of encouragement

With this activity, you can bond with your teen and also boost their self-worth. You may engage your entire family in it.

What to do:

  • Prepare a chart, and ask all the members of your family to fill in two things for which they are proud of your teen, and two things to keep the teen’s morale high.
  • Once the chart is filled, hang it in your teen’s room.

What they learn:

The huge letter of encouragement is a reminder to your teen that they are not alone and have people they can rely on. The positive things written about them also keep their morale high.

17. Physical activity hour

Physical activity hour

Image: Shutterstock

Regular physical activity and exercise can help boost a person’s self-esteem (4). Hence, an active lifestyle will not only make your teen healthy but also confident.

What to do:

  • Encourage your teen to choose any sport that involves considerable physical activity.
  • Tell them to spend at least an hour a day on that sport. It would be great if you can play with them.

What they learn:

Playing any sport will make your teen realize that winning and losing are a part of life and not a great deal. It will also instill a sense of sportsmanship in them.

As your teen starts practicing some of these activities, they will gradually start getting more confident and improve their self-esteem. Your love and support should supplement these activities to encourage them and reassure them that you are always there to support them.

But in your effort to encourage the child, do not give them a false impression about themselves, as that could make the teen complacent and think unreasonably high about themselves.

Do you know of any other activities to improve self-esteem in teenagers? You may suggest them in the comments section below.

References:

 

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Harshita Makvana

Harshita is a graduate in commerce and holds a PG Diploma in Patent and Copyrights Law from NALSAR University. She has also pursued CA and has more than three years of internship experience in auditing.Her love for travelling has taken her to various parts of the world, and writing the travelogues has what brought out her love for content writing.Harshita has experience in writing blogs and is passionate about presenting complex subjects in an easy-to-comprehend manner.In her spare time, she works on vegan activism, rescuing animals in need, and trying vegan delicacies.
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