How do I help my teen with low self esteem?

Teens and Low Self Esteem

Just about everyone struggled with low self esteem when they were teenagers, and many people still do as adults. 

When your kid starts to display signs of low self esteem or say negative things about themselves, your first instinct will be to contradict them. You love your kids so much and you’ll try to convince them to see themselves the way you see them: as wonderful. Believe it or not, this won’t help. If you try to respond with counter-arguments as your child expresses negative thoughts or self doubt it will only make them feel like you’re not listening and you don’t understand them.

Make them feel seen and heard

What your kid needs in those moments is empathy, and a sympathetic ear. They need a sense of validation and to feel like you’ve heard them. Don’t try to argue with them about why they’re great and not all those other negative things they’re feeling. Instead, try saying “hey, I get it, you’re really feeling down about yourself right now.”

Ultimately the most important thing you can do as a parent to help your kid with low self esteem is share your love for them. Show them and make them feel that you love being around them. It’s a big topic with a lot to unpack, and we talk about it in this Tips on Teens:

“My fourteen year old son has really low self esteem and I just don’t know what to do about it. He compares himself to others a lot, and I hear him say negative stuff about himself all the time. Also, it’s really hard to get him to try new things. I’m guessing this is because of his lack of self confidence. I try to be supportive and encouraging, and say good things about him. I try to tell him and show him I love him too. It just feels like nothing’s working and I’m worried he’s going to miss out on the best parts of being a teen. What can I do?”


Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.

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