Part II:  Establishing a Positive Self-Image

According to Research:

  1. Self-esteem assessed for girls between the ages of 8-9 reveal that 60% of girls report positive feelings, compared to 67% of boys (LeCroy & Daley, 2001)
  2. Teens between the ages of  16-17 indicated that only 29% of girls felt positive feelings about themselves compared to 46% of boys (Roshar & Rierdan, 1994)

The following tips can be used to help teens develop a positive self-image or to think favorably about the unique traits that make them who they are.  If you are a parent, consider the following discussion points with your daughter to help her increase her self-image.

Recognize Signs of Self-Abasement:  Do you frequently make fun of yourself or put yourself down in front of other people?  Do you often set unrealistic expectations for yourself and feel bad when you can’t fulfill your lofty goals?

Answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions may mean that, at times, you set yourself up to experience frustration and negativity.  Negative self-statements lead to a downward spiral of emotions.  Instead of focusing on the negative aspects, focus on the things that you are proud of in life.

Identify Supports in Your Life:  When you are upset, who can you talk to that will make you feel better?  Who is someone that makes you feel better when you are down?  It is important to identify people in your life that will listen to your concerns and make you feel better.  Just knowing that you have support to go to in times of need can increase your mood, in addition to helping you develop effective coping skills.

Baby Steps: When we feel bad about ourselves we can experience extreme negativity and everything seems to go wrong.  Instead of dwelling in the fact that certain things aren’t going in the right direction, consider focusing on changing a few things at a time that you can control.  Take baby steps, and you’d be surprised how accomplishing a few small goals can make you feel better about yourself.

Follow Your Dreams: Explore your passions and step outside of your comfort zone.  You will never know what you can achieve until you try.  By engaging in activities that you enjoy, you will feel better about yourself and you may meet people with similar interests who will make you feel better about yourself

Works Cited:

LeCroy, C.W.,  & Daley, M.W.  (2001).  Empowering Adolescent Girls: Examining the present and building skills for the future with the go grrrls program.  New York: Norton Publishers.

Rosner, B.A., & Rierdan, J. (1994).  Adolescent girls’ self-esteem: Variations in developmental trajectories.  Paper presented at the Society for Research on Adolescence, San Diego, CA.