Adaptability is the key for healthy teen self-esteem.
Adaptability has everything to do with being prepared for whatever life presents you with each and every day. For many of us we get caught up in daily routines. Daily routines provide comfort which is fine; however, when something changes in that routine for many teens it can be hard to handle. Once this occurs, they can feel disjointed, even depressed. Because of that one curveball, the rest of their day can seem ruined. This doesn’t have to happen. Be ready for whatever comes your way. Adapt to the change. How do you do this?
- By taking up different interests and different activities. Keep trying new things; and meet new people. Move beyond your comfort zone as often as possible.
- The teens I see with the best adaptability skills tend to have one thing in common. They work part-time or volunteer on a consistent basis. Why does this work? Because, you have to be ready for whatever comes your way when you work or volunteer. You get thrown multiple curve balls at the same time. You have to be responsible, on time, take directions well and execute. One day you may be answering the phones, another day you may be working on a computer screen while other days you may be interacting with customers. The unknown is good for you. You will be nervous in the beginning, but with time you build comfort in the process. This in turn builds confidence and self-esteem.
- Interacting with other adults and peers that aren’t your family, neighbors, friends, teammates or teachers tests your comfort zone and prepares you to become a stronger communicator down the road.
- Don’t stick to the same routine, challenge yourself and learn to roll with the punches. That way your whole day can’t be ruined by one problem or obstacle in your way. You get past it, adapt and move on.
When working with teens, always be authentic.
[Authenitic— of undisputed origin; genuine.
Whenever I’m asked about my work with teens, I remind people that the key to success with this age group is being authentic. I always say: “Teens can stiff out an inauthentic adult in seconds.” ….but what does being “authentic” really mean?
- Do not be judgmental. Meaning…. just listen to them. Don’t be shocked or surprised by what they say. Sometimes, they will tell you things for the shock value alone to see how you will respond. The key is…..DON’T!
- You don’t always need to lend advice. Just listen to them. As easy as it can be to lend them guidance at this age, hold back sometimes.
- Don’t ask soooo many questions. This will easily annoy or frustrate them.
- Don’t cut them off or redirect the conversation. Let them take the conversation where they want.
- Maintain eye contect and show other visual signs of confirmation (such as, head nodding, smiling, etc.)
- Last, but not least, be present and engaged. Regardless if they are talking about a minor issue from school or a serious struggle with a friend, it’s important to them. And if it’s important to them, then it should be important to you as well.
(Guest article for Fusion Academy)
R – Resilience
A – Attitude/Adaptability
I – Independence
S – Self-respect
E – Empowerment
After counseling and interviewing hundreds of young girls, I have an understanding for what they face in the world and how they feel inside. Trying to maneuver the landscape of your everyday life as a teenage girl is tough. Without tools, strategies, or resources it’s nearly impossible. I see RAISE as your toolkit. RAISE is an acronym for five components to building healthy self-esteem: resilience, attitude, independence, self-respect, and empowerment.
It’s probably no surprise that teens rate the disapproval of their friends and classmates as the most difficult to experience. Most will avoid it at any cost. This is where peer pressure can come into play if they don’t have a strong sense of self or healthy self-esteem. Resilience, or self-perseverance, is a great defense against peer pressure and bullying. We are all resilient in our own way, it’s just a matter of taking those “resilient” behaviors and translating them to other situations and environments. Resilience doesn’t have to come naturally. Instead, we can learn skills to help us persevere and practice them along the way.
Maintaining a positive attitude can enhance self-esteem. Simply accepting that we all have good days and bad days is a start. In addition, adapting to different situations is key. Developmentally, the teen years are extremely complex. Dynamics among friendships start to shift and extreme self-awareness takes hold. Not to mention there’s a good chance their hormones are going crazy! All of these conditions create a concoction just waiting for disaster. Teens may deal with these changes in many different ways. They may become moody, crying over big and small issues, they may begin to challenge parents, or they may feel sad or depressed for seemingly no reason. These can all be very scary experiences and cause extreme confusion.
Adolescents need to remember that they aren’t alone; sometimes just knowing that can make all the difference in the world. Teen girls talk about a lot of things with their friends, but based on my research, feeling sad or lonely for no real reason isn’t usually one of them. So, who or what can they turn to?
Dr Carol will be hosting a Community Education Night at Fusion San Mateo on May 27. See more at: Fusion Academy