Adolescence is a challenging developmental stage for many young people. Beginning with the onset of puberty, we can observe in our children changes on all levels – mental, physical and emotional. Changes to hormone levels and entry to High School take them from all they have known as a child to very unknown territory. They are dealing with major changes in body image whilst navigating very new social paradigms.
Have you ever heard your children express “I’m not good at anything; There’s no point in trying – I’ll fail anyway; I’m not going out. They won’t like me; I’m not as good as them; I don’t know what to say or how to start a conversation”. If this sounds like your child, they are not alone.
When does self-doubt become an issue?
It is natural for young people to experience periods of self-doubt as they begin to develop their new identity and journey towards becoming independent and autonomous beings. However for some, this can be a time of crippling low self-confidence and self-worth. It’s hard as a parent to observe your once happy and confident child become so unsure. For many adolescents, our being available and providing unconditional love and a supportive environment is enough to guide them through this stage. For others, cycles of negative self-talk can lead to destructive thought patterns and behaviour. If your kids are anything like mine, there are just some things that they don't want to discuss with their parents. Getting some external help to break these cycles can really support your child to ‘stop the inner critic running the show’ and to feel ‘happy in the skin they’re in.’ If you think your child needs this, then my new course “The Key to Confidence and Self-Worth” might be perfect.
So, What exactly is self-worth?
Self-worth refers to one’s overall sense of personal value. If you have it, you are able to acknowledge and take due pride in your strengths, and generally accept your weaknesses without beating yourself up. You are able to like yourself for who you are and feel confident to step out into the world on your terms.
We all need esteem from others as well as inner self-respect to be able to grow as a person, fulfill our potential and be all that we can be. The truth is that everyone has immense strengths within. It is a natural and important aspect of life to embrace and take advantage of these strengths, interests and passions. We also have parts of us that are less strong. We have the ability to learn to accept or to challenge these parts so that they don’t hold us back. It is by working through the challenging aspects of ourselves that we come to experience huge personal growth and empowerment.
Low self-worth can have an immense effect on a person’s life. With the million-and-one pressures facing our teenager’s lives - cultural, social, educational, and personal identity aspects, it is increasingly important for them to confront and challenge negative thought patterns in order for them to achieve their best potential and be truly happy.
As a mother of four young adults, I can honestly say that adolescence is a beautifully unique process for each person. I can say ‘beautifully’ now because my four are through the most turbulent stages of adolescence. There were many times where ‘turbulent’ was the operative word, that’s for sure! If you could list the key issues facing teenagers today, I have to put my hand up and say that I have had to deal with most of them as a parent. Sleepless nights wondering how to best deal with a situation became part of my life, as did having to dig deep and really think outside the box for solutions. Yes, there were breakthroughs and compromises. Unfortunately, our children do not come with a guide book, but we all do the best we can with what we've got and grow through the process.
I have also worked in mental health for over 20 years and have been privileged to work with adolescents and adults in crisis in the hospital setting. It is from this personal and professional life experience that makes me passionate about supporting young people to develop confidence and a deep awareness of their self-worth.