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«A Resource Guide for Parents and Teens Developed and Compiled by the Youth Council of the DuPage Workforce Board A Letter to Parents: Your teen’s ...»

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 Try new things. Experiment with different activities that will help you get in touch with your talents. Then take pride in new skills you develop.

 Recognize what you can change and what you can't. If you realize that you're unhappy with something about yourself that you can change, then start today. If it's something you can't change (like your height), then start to work toward loving yourself the way you are.

 Set goals. Think about what you'd like to accomplish, then make a plan for how to do it. Stick with your plan and keep track of your progress.

 Take pride in your opinions and ideas. Don't be afraid to voice them.

 Make a contribution. Tutor a classmate who's having trouble, help clean up your neighborhood, participate in a walkathon for a good cause, or volunteer your time in some other way. Feeling like you're making a difference and that your help is valued can do wonders to improve selfesteem.

 Exercise! You'll relieve stress, and be healthier and happier.

 Have fun. Ever found yourself thinking stuff like "I'd have more friends if I were thinner"? Enjoy spending time with the people you care about and doing the things you love. Relax and have a good time — and avoid putting your life on hold.

 It's never too late to build healthy, positive self-esteem. In some cases where the emotional hurt is deep or long lasting, it can require the help of a mental health professional, like a counselor or therapist. These experts can act as a guide, helping people learn to love themselves and realize what's unique and special about them.

 Self-esteem plays a role in almost everything you do. People with high self-esteem do better in school and find it easier to make friends. They tend to have better relationships with peers and adults; feel happier; find it easier to deal with mistakes, disappointments, and failures; and are more likely to stick with something until they succeed. It takes some work to develop good selfesteem, but once you do it's a skill you'll have for life.

Source: Self-esteem: How to Help Children & Teens Develop a Positive Self-image Self-esteem is a major key to success in life. The development of a positive self-concept or healthy selfesteem is extremely important to the happiness and success of children and teenagers.

How Parents Help Teens Develop a Positive Self image Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves, and our behavior clearly reflects those feelings.

For example, a child or teen with high self-esteem will be able to:

 act independently  assume responsibility  take pride in his accomplishments  tolerate frustration  attempt new tasks and challenges  handle positive and negative emotions  offer assistance to others

On the other hand, a teen with low self-esteem will:

 avoid trying new things  feel unloved and unwanted  blame others for his own shortcomings  feel, or pretend to feel, emotionally indifferent  be unable to tolerate a normal level of frustration  put down his own talents and abilities  be easily influenced Parents, more than anyone else can promote their child’s self-esteem. It isn’t a particularly difficult thing to do. In fact, most parents do it without even realizing that their words and actions have great impact on how their child or teenager feels about himself. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind.

When you feel good about your teen, mention it to him or her. Parents are often quick to express negative feelings to children but somehow don’t get around to describing positive feelings. A child doesn’t know when you are feeling good about him or her and he or she needs to hear you tell him or her that you like having him or her in the family. Children remember positive statements we say to them. They store them up and “replay” these statements to themselves. Practice giving your child words of encouragement throughout each day.

Be generous with praise. Use what is called descriptive praise to let your child know when they are doing something well. You must of course become in the habit of looking for situations in which your child is doing a good job or displaying a talent. When your teen completes a task or chore you could say, “I really like the way you straightened your room. You found a place for everything and put each thing in its place.” When you observe them showing a talent you might say, “That last piece you played was great. You really have a lot of musical talent.” Don’t be afraid to give praise often even in front of family or friends. Also, use praise to point out positive character traits. For instance, “You are a very kind person.” Or, “I like the way you stick with things you do even when it seems hard to do.” You can even praise a child for something he did not do such as “I really liked how you accepted my answer of ‘no’ and didn’t lose your temper.” Teach your teen to practice making positive self-statements. Self-talk is very important in everything we do. Psychologists have found that negative self-talk is behind depression and anxiety. What we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave. Therefore, it is important to teach children to be positive about how they “talk to themselves.” Some examples of useful self-talk are: “I can get this problem, if I just keep trying.” “It’s OK if our team lost today. We all tried our best and you can’t win them all.” “It makes me feel good to help others even if the person doesn’t notice or thank me.” Avoid criticism that takes the form of ridicule or shame. Sometimes it is necessary to criticize a child’s actions, and it is appropriate that parents do so. When, however the criticism is directed to the child as a person it can easily deteriorate into ridicule or shame. It is important to learn to use “I statements” rather than “You statements” when giving criticism. For instance say, “I would like you to keep your clothes in the proper place in your closet or drawers not lying all over your room;” rather than saying “Why are you such a lazy slob? Can’t you take care of anything?

Teach your child about decision-making and to recognize when he/she has made a good decision.

Children make decisions all the time but often are not aware that they are doing so. There are a number of ways parents can help children improve their ability to consciously make wise decisions.

Help your teen clarify the problem that is creating the need for a decision. Ask questions that pinpoint how he or she sees, hears, and feels about a situation and what may need to be changed.

Brainstorm the possible solutions. Usually there is more than one solution or choice to a given dilemma, and the parent can make an important contribution by pointing out this fact and by suggesting alternatives if the child has none.

Allow your teen to choose one of the solutions only after fully considering the consequences. The best solution will be one that solves the problem and simultaneously makes the child feel good about himself or herself. Later join your child in evaluating the results of that particular solution. Did it work out well?

Or did it fail? If so, why? Reviewing the tactics will equip the child to make a better decision the next time around.

Develop a positive approach to providing structure for your child. All kids and teens need to accept responsibility for their behavior. They should learn self-discipline. To help children learn self-discipline, the parent needs to adopt the role of coach/teacher rather than that of disciplinarian and punisher.

Learn the “Three Fs” of positive parenting. (Discipline should be fair, firm and friendly).

Ten additional steps you can take to help your child develop a positive self-image:

1. Teach children to change their demands to preferences. Point out to children that there is no reason they must get everything they want and that they need not feel angry either. Encourage them to work against anger by setting a good example and by reinforcing them when they display appropriate irritation rather than anger.

2. Encourage your children to ask for what they want assertively, pointing out that there is no guarantee that they will get it. Reinforce them for asking and avoid anticipating their desires.

3. Let children know they create and are responsible for any feeling they experience. Likewise, they are not responsible for others’ feelings. Avoid blaming children for how you feel.

4. Encourage your children to develop hobbies and interests which give them pleasure and which they can pursue independently.

5. Let your teen settle their own disputes between siblings and friends alike.

6. Help your children develop “tease tolerance” by pointing out that some teasing can’t hurt. Help your teen learn to cope with teasing by ignoring it while using positive self-talk such as “names can never hurt me,” “teases have no power over me,” and “if I can resist this tease, then I’m building emotional muscle.”

7. Help your son/daughter learn to focus on their strengths by pointing out to them all the things they can do.

8. Encourage your teen to behave toward themselves the way they’d like their friends to behave toward them.

9. Help your children think in terms of alternative options and possibilities rather than depending upon one option for satisfaction. A person who has only one friend and loses that friend is friendless. However, a person who has many friends and loses one, still has many. This same principle holds true in many different areas. Whenever you think there is only one thing which can satisfy you, you limit your potential for being satisfied! The more you help your children realize that there are many options in every situation, the more you increase their potential for satisfaction.

10. Laugh with your children and encourage them to laugh at themselves. People who take themselves very seriously are undoubtedly decreasing their enjoyment in life. A good sense of humor and the ability to make light of life are important ingredients for increasing one’s overall enjoyment.

Source: Child Development Institute www.childdevelopmentinfo.com Some Advice for your Teens……

1. Take a deep breath.

Staying relaxed and being laid-back in general can help you see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff so much. It's also a good frame of mind to be in when you're taking a close look at the things you're not so good at.

2. Take inventory of your strengths.

Everybody's good at something, and many people are good at quite a few things. Even if you don't have a talent or strength that you're aware of, you probably have some interests you can develop into strengths.

Make a list of a few things you're good at and a few things you're interested in and would like to be better at. Share this list with your parents, an aunt or uncle, or a teacher you like and trust. They can probably help you find other things you're good at, too, and help you come up with a plan for developing other skills and interests.

3. Realize your limits.

Nobody's perfect -- not even close. It may not always seem this way, but it's true. So if you weren't born a good singer, a super athlete or an "A" student, that's OK. You have a personality and a perspective on the world that's all your own and completely valuable -- even if you suck at basketball, have a big nose or look terrible in leggings.

4. Stop putting yourself down. Now!

One of the biggest things that keeps people from achieving their goals -- and feeling good about themselves -- is negative self-talk. In other words, telling yourself that you're a loser or a failure puts a big damper on your ability to get what you want and be who you want.

If you don't do well at a particular project or task, it doesn't mean that you never will. Perhaps you weren't prepared or the time simply wasn't right. It doesn't mean that you're a lousy human being or that you'll never succeed. It's OK to be upset for a bit when things don't go your way, but after a little while, let it go and move on. You'll be that much closer to achieving what you want if you do.

5. Celebrate progress and small victories.

Did you pass your driver's test or give a killer speech despite feeling nervous? Give credit where credit's due: You did it, and you rule! And guess what? You can tackle bigger, harder projects, too.

6. Pat yourself on the back every day.

Find a few small things that you did well each day. Whether it's waking up on time, smiling at the dorky hall monitor or sending a card to your grandmother, a lot of good can be accomplished in one day -- and it's something to take pride in.

Source: About.com/teen advice

–  –  –

As girls grow and develop, their overall sense of self-esteem and personal worth grows and changes, too. Self-esteem is how confident we feel about our talents and abilities, not just how others may perceive us. Girls with high self-esteem feel secure about themselves, regardless of how smart or successful others say they are. These girls express their feelings, make positive choices, and care about others.

One might assume that girls today grow up with confidence in their abilities to fulfill their aspirations.

But girls continue to face particular pressures on their self-esteem.

When—and why—does girls' self-esteem decline?

Among 5-12th grade girls, 59 percent in one survey were dissatisfied with their body shape. Of girls in that same age group, 47 percent said they wanted to lose weight because of photos they saw in magazines. Girls ages 10 and 12 (tweens) are confronted with "teen" issues, such as dating and sex, at increasingly earlier ages. Among 8–12-year olds, 73 percent dress like teens and talk like teens. Girls ages 8–12 are more worried about being teased and made fun of than they are about being attacked with a weapon or being kidnapped. Between 5th and 9th grade, gifted girls, perceiving that smarts aren't sexy, often hide or downplay their accomplishments.

Girls and boys enjoy and succeed in science equally in 4th grade, but by 8th grade girls' interest and participation drops. By age 15, girls are twice as likely as boys to become depressed.

Body-image, stress and their effects on self-esteem

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