When girls and boys enter adolescence, they begin to compare themselves with others as their bodies start to change. If they don’t stack up well in their minds, self-doubt emerges for the first time. Usually, they find a way through this and grow confident in adulthood. Sometimes though, a traumatic event sets them back, and they begin to believe they have no hope.
A Teen Voice survey asked teenagers where they got their sense of purpose from. They revealed the following drivers in young adulthood:
In childhood, parents provide encouragement and support and their opinions are respected. However in adolescence, teens drift away from families and this input can be unproductive. An emotional crunch may find them naked and defenseless causing them to lose belief in themselves. Their parents may have no idea what caused their child’s depression,and equally importantly how to respond.
At other times the process may be gradual. Consistent failure to perform well in class, sibling rivalry, bullying, obsession with appearance, an over-bearing teacher all have a similar effect. The teen’s self-concept erodes until they begin to believe that they are useless. A thoughtless remark by a frustrated parent may be the worst of all.
Take strength that you have power to reverse this and imbue your child with fresh hope. Your job is to replace the negatives with positives that help build them up. There’s little point in saying “this is how I’m going to cheer you up”. Teens- like the rest of us – seldom respond to unasked for advice. You have to work on the family system. By this I mean the home environment, and how you interact.