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Teaching Teen Girls to Love Themselves

by Candice Coleman

We all hope for confident daughters who are capable of taking on the world - and of loving themselves just as they are. Helping a teen daughter build her self-esteem can be a trying labor of love, but parents can give their daughters the tools necessary to rebuild or improve self-esteem.

Helping Your Teen Change Her Perspective

During the teenage years, your daughter may become critical of her achievements, appearance and personality. The Center for Young Women's Health recommends that you encourage her to focus on the good things about herself, and correct her if you feel her assessment of herself is inaccurate. And KidsHealth suggests helping her think of three positive things about herself each day. Remember, the way you talk about yourself and other people demonstrates how your daughter should think of and talk about herself. Limit negative self-talk if you hope to promote self-love in your daughter.

Affection and Praise

Teenagers may be facing criticism from teachers, employers, friends, romantic interests and family members. All of that criticism can add up and lead teen girls to have a negative view of themselves. Parents should make an effort to praise daughters not only for success, but for effort and strategy, to help her develop better self-esteem, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Remind your daughter often of her positive traits and give plenty of physical affection.

Constructive Criticism

It's easy to let criticism get out of hand. In the real world, not everything your daughter does will meet your approval, but you can help her without crushing her self-esteem. Assuming your daughter fell short in a class or sport because of incompetence or a lack of trying will only damage her opinion of herself. Provide reassurance when your child falls short, and offer guidance on what she can do in the future for a better outcome. If she failed a class, you can suggest that a tutor or studying more frequently in the future may help. Remind your daughter that everyone has struggles, but bouncing back and trying again may reap rewards.

Additional Help

Teaching self-love is an ongoing process, and it is something that your daughter must learn to do for herself. Without intervention, girls who lack self-love and self-esteem may become depressed, according to the Center for Young Women's Health. If your daughter's self-esteem problems are affecting other areas of her life, a counselor or other mental health professional may be able to help.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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