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How can I help my Teen find himself?


How can I help my Teen find himself?


It is normal to worry about a teenager's recklessness. But this worry, if it translates into a desire to protect him too much or to control him excessively, only pushes him further into silence or revolt.

Despite his independent appearances, the teenager needs love, listening, understanding and respect.

However, these needs cannot be met in the same way as before; we must now find the right words and the right gestures. This is a great challenge for parents!

What can be done to ensure that a young person has good self-esteem? 

Above all, it is important that both parents recognize him for who he is, with his personal strengths and limitations, and respect who he is.

This does not prevent parents from having expectations of their teenager; but these must take into account the new person who stands before them.

The adolescent must be loved, appreciated, listened to and understood.

Love him and say it.

Your little girl was gentle and docile, cheerful and very open. One fine morning, you find yourself in front of a young girl who answers your requests with "no", who has mood swings and who hides her little secrets from you.

Of course you love this teenage girl! But there are days when, to keep your love alive, you think longingly of your old little girl.

Ask yourself what are the facets of your young person's personality that you particularly appreciate ...

  • her beauty;
  • his skill;
  • his intelligence;
  • his kindness;
  • etc. … 

And take the time to tell him. Adolescents feel the need to put a physical distance between them and their parents because puberty gives a sexual character to human relations and brings up Oedipal fantasies.

Appreciate it and say it.

To love is an impulse of the heart, to appreciate is more of a movement of the mind.

You can appreciate the behaviors of someone you love, but also those of someone you don't or little like.

Think, for example, of the teenager of the new spouse with whom we do not necessarily have affinities, but whose certain behaviors or personality traits can be appreciated.

It is a good way to begin to establish a positive relationship with another than to observe them and openly show their appreciation.

To know how to listen.

In general, adolescents are not very talkative and very communicative. You have to understand that their world is more and more centered on friendly and romantic relationships.

They need their privacy, their secrets, their rituals (clothes, hairstyles, etc.) as well as their own jargon. Parents, by wanting to talk too much, scare them away.

But those who give up communicating lose contact with young people. A good way to communicate is to be sincerely interested in what the other is telling us, without judging them, without criticizing them and without arguing.

There are special times when it may be easier to talk to your teenager. This could be in the morning before leaving for school, at mealtime, in the evening or on weekends.

Pick a situation, visualize it, and ask yourself what would be the best strategy to get in touch with your youngster.

• Sit nearby and wait for him to react.

• Do a prank.

• Make a general comment that concerns him.

• Take an interest in what he is doing.

• Tell her that you would like to talk to her.

• Talk about yourself, your day, your plans.

• Talk about him.

• Find out about your plans, your friends.

To feel understood.

To be understood, that necessarily means to be recognized in his feelings, in his tastes, in his desires and in his ideas. It is much more than being listened to! Your youngster has unique feelings, tastes, desires and ideas.

When it comes to his tastes, it is important to know them and, when you do, to behave appropriately.

For example, you don't have to pretend you like her red hair! But neither can you criticize and ridicule your youngster who likes to have hair that color.

The search for identity sometimes involves originality or marginality. You have to be sincere with your teenager, but never be disrespectful!

The nature of self-esteem and personality traits

The nature of self-esteem of adolescents determines the formation of certain personality traits.

For example, its adequate level contributes to the formation of a teenager's self-confidence, self-criticism, perseverance or excessive self-confidence, uncriticality.

There is also a definite connection between the nature of self-esteem and educational and social activity. Adolescents with adequate self-esteem have a higher level of academic performance, they do not have sharp leaps in academic performance, and they have a higher social and personal status.

Adolescents with adequate self-esteem have a large field of interests, their activity is aimed at various types of activities, as well as interpersonal contacts, which are moderate and appropriate, aimed at knowing others and themselves in the process of communication.

Teens withwith a tendency to a strong overestimation of self-esteem, they show sufficient limitation in the types of activity and a greater focus on communication, moreover, with little content.

Aggressive adolescents are characterized by extreme self-esteem (either maximally positive or maximally negative), increased anxiety, fear of widespread social contacts, egocentrism, and inability to find a way out of difficult situations.

Numerous studies show that adolescents with low self-esteem are prone to depressive tendencies. Moreover, some studies have revealed that low self-esteem precedes or is the cause of depressive reactions, while others - that depressive affect manifests itself first, and then is incorporated into low self-esteem.

It is known that from about 8 years old children actively show the ability to assess their success in different areas. The most significant of these were five: school performance, appearance, physical ability, behavior and social acceptance.

However, during adolescence, school performance and behavior become important for the assessment of parents, and the other three become important for peers.

Adolescents with adequate self-esteem have a large field of interests, their activity is aimed at various types of activities, as well as interpersonal contacts, which are moderate and appropriate, aimed at knowing others and themselves in the process of communication.

Teens with low self-esteem are prone to depressive tendencies. Adolescents with a tendency to strongly overestimate self-esteem exhibit sufficient limitations in activities and a greater focus on communication, moreover, with little content.

Emancipation of self-esteem  One of the main features that characterize the self-esteem of adolescents is the ever-deepening emancipation of their self-esteem, that is, the desire of adolescents to form their self-esteem regardless of the assessments of other people.

Without disputing this position, one should nevertheless admit that a person is always in various kinds of social interactions and it is impossible for him to avoid a certain dependence on the assessment of his immediate environment.

The development of self-esteem in the process of communication 

Ch.Kuli's repeatedly proven theory of the "mirror self" about the positive attitude of significant others as one of the main determinants of the level of self-esteem is also valid for the self-esteem of adolescents.

Among the four sources of social support: parents, teachers, classmates, close friends - parental support and the attitude of classmates most fully affect the self-esteem of a teenager.


How do you motivate a teenager in school? 

How Do I Motivate My Teen?

pubmed 2

DUCLOS, Germain. L’estime de soi, un passeport pour la vie. Montréal: Éditions de l’Hôpital Sainte-Justine, 2000. 117 p.


ACKER, Vincent. Ados, comment les motiver: la méthode Gordon appliquée à la motivation scolaire. Alleur: Marabout, 2000. 279 p.

Duclos, Germain L’estime de soi des adolescents