I am delighted to welcome Siobhan Curham to Book Angel Booktopia today. Working with teens you quickly grasp the need to promote their self-esteem as much as possible. Although I am now in my 40’s I can still remember what it was like to be a teenager – it SUCKED! Today, I feel that teens have even more pressure on them from body image to academic performance. The teenage years are a dichotomy (love this word) – individuality versus popularity while trying to achieve a degree of self-awareness. It’s a hard battle trying to find out who YOU are as opposed to how other people see you or want you to be, parents included. So how can we help them, as fellow human beings, become the people they are supposed to be:
Promoting Self Confidence in Teens You Know
True Face – Siobhan Curham
Recently, I read some statistics that terrified me.
In the UK alone last year, 28,000 young people were hospitalised for self harming.
That’s twenty-eight thousand young people who were so deeply unhappy they felt compelled to hurt themselves so badly they ended up in hospital.
And the number of young people hospitalised for other psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders has doubled in the past four years.
Being a teenager has always been tough – a weird kind of no man’s land between child and adult – but now there’s the added pressure of a media constantly baying for physical perfection and the scrutiny of living a life online.
So, if there are teenagers in your life, as there are in mine, how can we help them negotiate the mine field and make it to adulthood happy and confident?
Young people have a lot to say and they need and deserve to be heard. Sometimes parents and teachers can adopt a ‘we know best’ attitude that comes across as patronising and causes the young person to switch off and shut down. The statistics above show how desperately some young people need to be heard. Psychological disorders could all be lessened or helped if the young person concerned had a healthy outlet for their feelings, fears and frustrations.
Every day, teenagers are bombarded with images of how flawless and ‘perfect’ they’re supposed to look – images that are often impossible to live up to without the aid of an air-brush or a team of stylists. In order to counter the drip-drip effect of this constant erosion on their confidence, we need to encourage the teens in our life to feel good about themselves physically. Instil in them a love of exercise and a healthy attitude to food. Make them feel good about their appearance, whilst also letting them know that appearance is definitely not the be all and end all. And be really careful not to voice any personal insecurities you might have about your own appearance, as this can be highly infectious.
Sadly, in school, little if any time is spent asking teenagers about their dreams and aspirations, so much so, that young people can often lose sight of their dreams entirely during their education. Encourage the teens in your life to talk about what they want to do with their lives and inspire them with any relevant tips and advice from your own life experience.
Whilst encouraging the teens in our lives to live and dream boldly we also need to make sure that we’re there for them in times of trouble – and that they know this too. It’s important that this is done as unobtrusively as possible. They aren’t children any more, but they still need to know that we’re there for them should they ever need us.
Whatever the teen in your life’s beliefs, passions or dreams (unless of course it’s dangerous to theirs or another’s well-being), it’s vital that you respect their individuality. When I became a purple-haired revolutionary at fifteen my dad made a few wisecracks but, even though my parents didn’t entirely agree with my beliefs, they never ridiculed them and always encouraged me to have them. And now I’m getting great pleasure from passing on this family gift, encouraging my teenage son in his own political beliefs.
True Face is full of exercises designed to help teens and young adults dream boldly and live authentically.
You can find out more at: www.TrueFaceRevolution.com