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Lessons on Teenage Insecurity

by Susan McCammon, studioD

Insecurity refers to feelings of anxiety, fear or shyness in social encounters. It is normal for teens to have feelings of insecurity in some occasions, such as when they meet new people or experience new settings, but extreme cases of insecurity can hinder a teen from developing vital social skills, according to KidsHealth. Biological influences, experiences or learned behaviors are some of the factors that cause insecurity.


Social interaction is vital for the development of social skills. Insecure teens concentrate on negative aspects of socialization, such as negative factors that could occur, according to KidsHealth. Extreme cases of insecurity might lead to social phobia, an anxiety disorder that makes teens unable to socialize with peers and adults, according to KidsHealth. Insecurity might hinder academic progress when a teen is unable to answer questions in class or seek clarification from teachers. Insecure teens might also miss out on opportunities to discover and nurture their talents because they fear encountering new circumstances.

Biological Influences

Teens undergo significant mental and physical changes during adolescence. For this reason, most teens feel certain degrees of self-consciousness as they try to gain peer acceptance. Teens with excessive concerns about their appearance, to the point where it disrupts daily activities, might have a condition called body dysmorphic disorder, according to KidsHealth. Shyness might be another cause of teen insecurity, notes TeensHealth. In some cases, genetics determine an individual’s level of shyness.

Childhood Experiences

The relationship a child has with parents or caregivers can influence how they will relate with other people during adolescence and adulthood, according to PsychCentral. Teens that had secure attachment with parents or caregivers during childhood are more likely to have secure relationships with others. In contrast, teens who had insecure attachments in childhood, or underwent stressful experiences might perceive the world as hostile and are, therefore, more likely to be insecure, according to PsychCentral.

Overcoming Insecurity

You can help your teen overcome her insecurity. One way is to build the confidence or self-worth of your teenage child. Let the teen list circumstance in which he feels insecure and come up with ways of confronting them. Help your teen set goals that will enhance positive social interactions, such as participating in a team sport. Reward your teen for every target she meets because rewards are an effective way of making people feel good about themselves, notes HealthGuidance.

About the Author

Susan McCammon began writing in 1997. Her work has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and educator with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. McCammon holds a Ph.D in Psychology from University of South Carolina.

Photo Credits

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