Building Confidence in Teen Boys with Low Self EsteemA lot of times when we see the media talking about self-esteem and confidence, it is directed at teen girls. And while it is important for young women to build their confidence, it is equally important not to forget about young men as well. It is a myth that teen boys do not struggle with their self-esteem the way that girls do, but often there is a stigma attached to young men expressing their vaulter abilities or fears. Because of this, teen boys may not reach out when they are struggling with their confidence.
Why Do Teen Boys Struggle with Self-Esteem?Gender stereotypes play a large role in the self-esteem of teen boys. There is a belief that boys should be athletic, strong, and competitive with a limited show of emotions. But boys have a full range of interests and emotions that can’t be boiled down to just a few “typical” boy things. When these young men feel that they are not living up to those societal expectations of how they should look or act, they feel inadequate. Boys who are struggling with their self-esteem may withdraw. They may be spending more and more time in their room or on the internet. Forgoing in-person relationships for video games or interactions online.
Building Them UpIf you feel that your son is struggling with this self-esteem there are some things you can do to help build him back up:
- Build his emotional vocabulary. Allow space for your son to express his full range of emotions. What you may see on the surface as anger, may be fear or shame deeper down. By helping him to understand the root of his emotions, you can encourage him to express himself in a healthy way.
- Celebrate all of his strengths. Not every boy wants to play sports. Some teen boys are artists, or scientists, or dancers, or musicians. Whatever his strengths may be, celebrate them. By showing him that his unique abilities are to be celebrated and not judged, he can begin to build confidence in sharing his skills with his peers as well.
- Encourage him to try new things. New experiences are critical to building confidence and expanding past his comfort zone. By trying new things, he will meet new people and begin to learn that he may have skills he never even realized he possessed.
- Stay connected. This can be the hardest part during the teen years. Even though your teen probably craves his independence, it is important to stay connected and in tune with his life. But really, most boys do want to feel like they are connected to their parents and that their parents care. By being an active part of your teen’s life, you can be aware of where they are struggling and where they are succeeding.