“My 14 year old son thinks he is ugly. I think he looks fine. What should I do?”

Hello, welcome to Tips on Teens. I'm your friendly neighborhood licensed marriage and family
therapist, Kent Toussaint, from Teen Therapy Center in Woodland Hills, California. I come
to you live every Wednesday at noon to join you in your lunch break to answer your parenting questions.
Today, here is your question. My 14 -year -old son thinks he is ugly. He hates taking photos and
selfies, so there are almost no photos of him now. He doesn't take care of himself because he
thinks that he is so ugly that nothing can help. I think he looks fine, but he always says, I think
so only because I'm his mom. What should I do? Wow. So there's a lot going on with this kid and it's
not about his looks. I think the more you focus on his looks, you're going to be distracted from
the real issue. Because you could tell him he's handsome. He's attractive. Everyone else thinks
he's attractive and he's going to feel like you're not listening to him. And he's going to go
deeper and deeper and deeper into I'm

assuming depression it sounds like that and what I think is going on is this is how he sees himself
he sees himself as horrible as ugly as stupid as worthless and that's how he sees his exterior
because that's how he sees his interior and if you focus on his looks if you try to say hey let's
go get a new hairstyle let's go get new clothes you're missing the point and so we really want
to help grow this kid's self -esteem there's a lot of ways that that can happen first of all I think
probably getting him into therapy is a really good idea not saying everyone needs to be in therapy
because they don't need to be in therapy but some people it's a benefit and I think this is a case
where therapy can very well benefit him because if this continues to go further and further
and further it could again I don't have crystal ball but it could end up into maladaptive coping
strategies of you know drugs alcohol you know suicidal ideation what's having suicidal thoughts
and considering that again I'm

not trying to play doomsday scenario um but these are possible red flags that we need to consider
uh other things outside of therapy you can do is help him gain a mastery of something um you know
whether that's you know a sport an instrument um being outside again some things that are less
screen intensive uh get him off social media as much get him off video games as much because that's
not going to give him a sense of mastery and ownership and a sense of pride in himself but it could
be that you know he loves being outdoors and hiking or mountain biking or you know maybe he's
getting involved in you know he likes politics and you get involved in youth and government
or you know anything and he may resist he may say no the only I'm good at is fortnight and you're
gonna have to wrestle with getting him to try new things and it could be that okay you can have
X amount of for time fortnight if you're also doing these other social activities as well again
not the perfect solution but we got

to do something to get him out of this rut I'm also wondering is he getting bullied is he seeing
himself this way because he's being pressured and bullied by other kids in some way so I think
these are all things to be considered again I think a therapist who specializes in working with
teenagers is gonna be a big benefit for this kid and this family to help them through this again
there's a lot more we could talk about with this but I'm just trying to answer it as succinctly
and briefly as possible for you know tips on teens on Facebook live if you have more questions
you can always email us at tips on teens at teen therapy Center comm or just mess and just right
here directly at Facebook or Instagram or Twitter thanks again we'll be here next week to answer
your parenting questions and again my name is Kent Toussaint and I will see you guys next week
bye bye

It is fairly common for a teen to have an exaggerated view of his or her own self-image. But how can a parent help their child if this happens to be the case? Society and social media put a lot of pressure on teens to look a certain way, which can make it very difficult to foster a healthy self-image. This week’s Tips on Teens answers a question from a mother concerned about how to help her son. Here’s the question:

“My 14 year old son thinks he is ugly. He hates taking photos and selfies, so there are almost no photos of him now. He doesn’t take care of himself, because he thinks that he is so ugly that nothing can help. I think he looks fine, but he always says I think so only because I am his mom. What should I do?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

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