I'm writing this post because I know that it's not only going to help many of the wonderful parents in the group I'm supporting, but also help many of you out there who have yet to meet me.
But before I start, I want you to know something...
Everything is going to be OK.
Even if right now all you can see is pain.
There is always hope and there is always another day to make things brighter in all of our lives.
I genuinely believe that as a society we need to take 100% responsibility for the pain we have inflicted on the young.
We force them to attend institution after institution, day in, day out.
An institution, which when we're honest, we all know only supports them to learn a small portion of what they will need to know to have a happy life.
We also know deep down that even with great grades many of our young people will struggle to get jobs, build careers, buy a home or even raise a family without tumbling into debt.
You may think, I've wandered off topic (it is absolutely one of my super powers), but just bear with me for the moment...
Think about your childhood for one moment.
Did you attend school knowing that if you worked hard you could get good grades and then go into a good job?
Did you have a mum and dad working 9-5, but there at the weekends?
Were you allowed to go out, play, explore and enjoy life?
What if none of that was true?
What if, no matter how hard you worked, how good your grades or how much time you invested in your schooling there was no job at the end of it...
What if, every time you came home one of your parents was heading out to the next job just to put food on the table?
What if, you spent 9 hours in school and then spent another 2 or 3 doing homework before it was time to eat and then pass out?
Would you be confident? Would you believe in yourself? Would you be driven to get out of bed every morning?
When we understand what our young people are going through, only then can we understand how to help them.
How to help increase your teenagers self-esteem:
STEP 1) Forget what you think you know
You remember when they were 5 they wanted to be the world leader (OK that was me and yes, I am fully aware this is not an actual job).
You remember when they were 7 and used to climb trees, go outside and play all day with their friends & laugh at the simplest of things.
You also remember when they were 10 and you were still the centre of their world.
But, back then things were different.
They didn't know what they do now about how the world works, what they enjoy and who they want to become.
Your first step, is to put away what you believe they 'should' do, be or have to become the best version of themselves and simply ask them.
STEP 2) Trust them
Don't worry, I'm way ahead of you even if something like this has just popped into your head 'but my kid wants to sit in his room and play computer games all day'...
You need to understand that your journey is not their journey.
Just like their recent experiences may have altered them from the childhood version of themselves, their experiences are not the same as yours.
We are all unique.
This is what makes the human race number 1.
Allow them to embrace their uniqueness and trust that they do know what makes them happy (even if you really don't understand it).
STEP 3) Empower them
If your child hit puberty and their self esteem packed up and wandered off, you're going to have to start slow.
Now, that you know what they like it's definitely time to jump onto the internet (*cough* Wikipedia *cough*) and understand what on earth they're talking about.
Next, break what they want to do down into key skills and 'things' they can do.
For example, back to me being the world leader I would need to learn to communicate well, have no fear of public speaking, understand different cultures, help resolve conflict...
To 'empower me' you could encourage me to try speaking in public, maybe at a small book club, or join a debate team...
It's not about pushing for the end goal, its about building their skills, allowing them to achieve and build up their own trust in themselves.
You cannot wave a magic wand and fix things but you absolutely can be the one with the map who can guide them out of the maze.
If it was that simple, I'd of done it already...
The problem is, many of our young people are also plagued by unimaginable amounts of stress, crippling anxiety or motivation sapping depression.
They don't want to engage with you.
Heck, they probably aren't even talking to you...
The magic potion:
So, above, I lied.
There is no magic wand but you can use my magic potion; drip feed.
Our brains work by absorbing everything (& yes I truly mean EVERYTHING) and then deciding how important it is, whether it needs to be filed away and ignored or kept more in our consciousness to be used.
When we repeatedly see or hear something our minds will believe it more.
It's a sneaky trick many marketers use to get you to buy the products they're peddling.
The thing is, it works.
So, you, my dear parent have just got to become the best marketer for your child & their brain will have to follow suit (eventually).
It may take a while, but trust me, it will happen.
The only way to increase your confidence, self-belief or self-esteem is to succeed doing the very thing you don't believe you can.
The only way you can help your child is by empowering them to try and succeed for themselves.
Will this work if my kid is struggling with stress, anxiety or depression?
But, you need to be careful.
These things mess with our brains ability to think, process information and remember things.
So you may hit a few stumbling blocks.
You'll need a few techniques under your belt to stop you making things worse.
Don't worry though because I have got your back.
Use the button below to find out more about my online workshop which teaches you exactly what you need to know so that you can confidently increase your child's self esteem without needing to worry about starting world war 3 -
I'd love to hear how you got on (& if there are any surprises when you ask them what they like), or if you have a question please let me know in the comments below.
I'll get back to you personally.
Have a wonderful rest of your day and an amazing rest of your week.
Catch you soon, Katie x