With over 27 years of coaching experience (physically and mentally) under my belt, I am well aware of the challenges our youth face. Self-image and self-perception are key points of emphasis for me when I work with clients, male or female. Both of these topics affect every area of our lives and dictate the way we make decisions.

So how do we help our teenagers overcome this and develop a more positive self-image and positive self-perception through a period of life where they are pressured to feel the opposite?

1. Lead by example for your teens. I have found through years of research that girls and women struggle more with their self-image and self-perception. How could we not? Every magazine, social media outlet, and commercial we see on television portrays the “perfect” body and urges you to use filters to cover up imperfections. The best way to show your teen how to treat themselves is to treat yourself well first. Children have a tendency to copy what their parents do. Your inner monologue may very well end up being theirs. Treating yourself well and having a healthy lifestyle will rub off on your teenager. When we walk with confidence, our children will tend to do the same.

2. Give your teens the resources they need. Let’s face it, we don’t have the answers to every question. Our teens face personal inner battles just as we adults do. Some things may be difficult for them to talk to us about. That doesn’t mean we don’t want those personal battles to be addressed and solved. Giving your teen trusted outlets for help and support not only shows that you acknowledge their blooming independence, but it also shows trust and allows them to learn how to solve problems they have for themselves. Buying your teen books like #1 Amazon Best Seller, “The 30 Day Self Perception for Teen Girls” (The Teen Boy Edition is coming!), is another way to assist them in forming a positive self-image and self-perception. This book walks teenage girls through various exercises and gets them journaling habitually. It’s not only good for their mental health but equips them with the tools to make positive decisions for their future.

3. Positive reinforcement for your teen. One of the best ways to boost your teen’s self-image and improve their inner monologue is to tell them the things you want them to tell themselves. Most self-image and self-perception issues are created in the mind. Teenagers don’t see life as a whole just yet. They truly believe that when something feels like the end of the world, it really is. By speaking to them positively and creating a dialogue for them, we are assisting in teaching our teens how to create one for themselves. This is a habit they will carry for the rest of their lives.

4. Opening the line of communication with your teen. Creating a safe space for your teen to talk openly about their insecurities is incredibly important. Typically, teens are apprehensive to speak to their parents about their personal areas of struggle. However, as parents, we are the best equipped in their lives to help them overcome these obstacles. How you make them feel about their thoughts will dictate how they create boundaries and stand up for themselves as adults. Communication is absolutely integral for a plethora of reasons. When our teens are able to speak to us, they will be able to speak to others. Teens create healthy boundaries within their families first and then implement those same boundaries with their friends and in relationships outside of their home. Some parents have even set a specific room in the house called a “Safe Room” or a “Safe Space” that is a designated area to speak about important issues with their teens with no judgment. Being proactive about this line of communication not only makes your teen feel safe and heard, but it also gives you the ability to teach them how to communicate their feelings and act on them successfully.

5. Do things with your teen together. It is important to choose an activity that you and your teen can enjoy together. For instance, doing “The 30 Day Self Perception Makeover” with your teen is a great way to not only improve yourself but also help your teen. It’s important for teens to see their parents constantly improving themselves. This makes them feel like they are free and safe to do it themselves. When you do these self-improvement activities with them, you are able to guide them and teach them through the process. Your teens’ friendships will come and go throughout their entire lives. This is a difficult reality, but one that has to be accepted. The most important relationship they will ever have is the one that is fostered by you. This allows us to guide them through their most integral decision making and become their safe space to land.

The most important aspect of helping a teen gain a positive self-image and self-perception is communication, and along with that comes trust. These two virtues are the most important in any type of relationship. Speaking openly with your teen and asking questions is incredibly important when gauging what needs to be done for your teen. If you are looking for more resources to help your child, visit www.cathleneminer.com. When we are able to talk to our children, we are able to help them and put them on the path for success.

Confidence in our teens first begins with confidence within you. Remember, always lead by example with your child. If you want them to have healthy habits, then show them what healthy habits look like. If you want them to love themselves, you must first show them how well you love yourself.

5 Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Self-Image was written by Cathlene Miner.