National Teen Self-esteem Month

May is National Teen Self-esteem Month

Inspire confidence in your students this May during National Teen Self-esteem Month. Many teens struggle with self-worth issues and self-doubt and this month is dedicated to aiming to counter this ideology by raising awareness and encouraging self-acceptance.

The teenage years are especially difficult for many people due to physical and hormonal changes, and stress driven by social media and societal pressures, leading to low self-esteem. In turn, this can lead to serious health problems like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Addressing low self-esteem and supporting teens in their development means budding problems like these can be snuffed out at the root.

How Do You Build Self-esteem?

The past two years have been filled with periods of isolation for many people, including teenagers at school. Although the majority of schools and academies are on the road towards some kind of normality, pupils may still be feeling isolated or experiencing low moods.

Teachers and support staff can encourage teens to work on building their confidence, self-compassion and self-acceptance by:

  • Promoting the message that they are good people who deserve love, support and success in life.
  • Teachers and school staff can help their pupils by supporting them emotionally, and talking and listening to them.
  • Leading by example - if children see teachers and adults around them supporting and being kind to each other, they will do the same. Ensure equality and staff wellbeing policies are revised to reflect this too.
  • Helping them to develop their talents through after-school and extra-curricular activities.
  • Making room for failure - it’s normal and inevitable to fail at some point so reassure your students about this. Failure only provides space for improvement and growth.
  • Giving praise for success - reward students where they have done well.
  • Encouraging them to stay active and get out into the outdoors.
  • Suggesting they keep a journal or diary - writing thoughts down can be extremely helpful in creating order for your thoughts and just to de-stress.
  • Encouraging students to allow themselves to feel a full spectrum of emotions and not compare themselves to others by recognising their personal values and attributes
  • Signposting - providing resources for students can help in cases where they are not ready to voice their thoughts. Navigating them towards further support may also be beneficial, for example school counselling.
  • Staying positive - help teens stay positive by providing a safe space for them to voice their needs, share their perspectives and build a healthy outlook of themselves.

If you’re worried a child is struggling in their day-to-day life, make sure relevant senior management members are aware.

Please also refer to Young Minds' helpful self-esteem guide for parents.

Young People and Wellbeing

According to Young Minds, one in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021. This is a massive increase from one in nine in 2017. That’s the equivalent of five children in every classroom.

Children and young people face many pressures that affect their self-esteem, such as social media, bullying, academic expectations, familial problems, body image issues, global anxiety and much more.

Young people’s self-esteem will fluctuate as they go through their life and experience different challenges but with support from parents and other adults around them, they usually move through these with no long-term effects. However, some teens develop self-esteem issues from an early age that are long-lasting, whether that’s down to their personality or due to difficulties they experienced as a younger child, for example going through something like bereavement, parental divorce or abuse.

Teenagers with low self-esteem can find it difficult to navigate life pressures and are more likely to develop mental health problems as they grow up, which is why it’s so important to support them at school.

Handsam Resources

External Resources