In the age of social media, which glorifies image worship and can fuel cyberbullying, teenage identity crises can be brutal. How to help your child to have a good self-esteem to make the transition less perilous?
This is the complex question that author Geneviève Pelletier, a clinical psychologist working with children and adolescents for thirteen years, tackles in her new book How to improve your self-esteem – for adolescents and young adults. “The passage from childhood to adulthood has always been an important period of identity,” explains Ms. Pelletier. There are bodily changes related to puberty, responsibilities and autonomy that are more important. I believe that the era in which we live, with social media, further weakens the self-esteem of teenagers”.
In lack of bearings, the teenager can lack perspective in the face of comments about him conveyed on social networks, recalls the expert. The pain is real… and self-esteem can plummet rapidly, to the point of impacting a young person's mental he alth. He is moreoverquestion of all these aspects in the series Treize raison (French version of 13 reasons why), broadcast on Netflix, which has been tant talk for a few weeks in Quebec, just like in the United States.
Certain key elements can help our child to maintain or improve his self-esteem. Geneviève Pelletier, mother of two children aged 3 and 6, insists: “It is never too late to invest in your child, to prevent or to repair”. In this case, you have to think about offering therapy to your child, giving him support and making sure he has a good network.
Here are the factors which, without guaranteeing that the child will have self-confidence, give a good basis. "Having 100% good self-esteem is impossible," says the psychologist, who practices in a CLSC in Quebec City.
Factors that promote good self-esteem
- A good relationship and good communicationparent-child
- A solid social network, with trusted friends
- The ability to ask for help
What to watch out for
We have doubts about our child's condition. Our instinct tells us that something is wrong… What clues should tell us that our teenager's self-esteem is in free fall? Here are Ms. Pelletier's tips.
He denigrates himself. Examples of phrases to spot: “I'm not good. " " I do not understand. »
He avoids. He avoids everythingnew, difficult situation or any change. He would rather find excuses than discover something new. Examples of phrases to spot: “I'm not capable. " " It does not interest me. »
He isolates himself. Behaviour to spot: he locks himself in his room, he isolates himself socially and/or physically.
He constantly asks for help. This may seem contradictory, since asking for help is one of the positive factors in developing and maintaining good self-esteem. Except… “Too much is like not enough,” says Ms. Pelletier. If our teenager constantly seeks his parents' approval, if he always asks for help, this may hide a lack of self-confidence. »
What to do?
Are we worried? We consult, even if it is only for prevention. This allows you to untangle knots, to get back on the right track.
There are many ways for parents and their teensto get help. The CLSC can be a good gateway to public resources and services. The family doctor can also be consulted, initially, and can provide referrals from specialists. The school's specialists could also advise your child (psychoeducator, nurse, social worker, for example).
Finally, on the private side, the Order of Psychologists of Quebec offers a site with a very good search engine (by district, type of clientele, etc).