Every person experiences feelings of doubt at certain stages in their life, and while this is both expected and normal, it is important that individuals do what they can to keep their self-esteem levels high. Having good self-esteem will have positive effects on the general quality of life, allowing individuals to work toward their goals, elevate their confidence, and value the role they play in other people’s lives. Although self-esteem can (and should) be worked on throughout the entirety of a person’s life, it is most effective when established from an early age. For this reason, introducing self-esteem worksheets to young clients as a part of therapeutic treatment is a fantastic idea. These resources encourage child and adolescent therapy clients struggling with self-esteem to begin improving their self-perception and self-worth from a young age, setting them up to have a positive future.
Tips to boost self-esteem in teenagers
The methods you use to treat adolescent clients will fundamentally differ from those you use to treat both adult and child clients. Adolescents are often experiencing a turbulent period of their lives, on the brink of adulthood, and faced with new challenges. It can be quite common for teens to experience low self-esteem, but fortunately, there are a number of different ways that you can help your clients counteract this.
Praising efforts over outcomes is important for showing teenagers that the work they put in is what matters, rather than the consequences. For example, if your client performs well on their exam, you should praise the study they did, rather than the specific score or result.
Self-improvement can help show teenagers that working toward achieving goals is more productive than dwelling on failures or limitations. It can often be the case that teenagers over-dramatize their shortcomings, for example deciding that they are “dumb” if they struggle in a certain class. When these situations occur, you should explain to your client that self-improvement is both positive and achievable, and encourage them to set goals pertaining to limitations or weaknesses they perceive in themselves. At the same time, you should emphasize that making mistakes is both inevitable and an important part of the learning process.
Impart assertiveness skills
Learning how to be assertive is a very important skill to develop. An assertive teenager will be able to communicate effectively with peers, teachers, and family. They will be less likely to succumb to peer pressure and will be able to explain their needs and wants to the people in their life.
Encourage new opportunities
Developing new skills and being exposed to different opportunities can be fantastic tools for improving confidence. Unfortunately, however, many teenagers are scared to try new things, out of fear of embarrassment or possible failure. You should take the time to get to know your client and encourage them to pick up a new sport, instrument, hobby, or general interest that you think is suited to them.
Self-worth can be complex. It’s important that teenagers don’t externalize the source of their self-worth, but rather establish a strong basis of self-worth internally. This can be a difficult thing to achieve, but by encouraging your client to develop a strong set of values and showing them the benefits of being a kind and caring person, you should be able to work towards this goal.
Self-worth activities for teens
Going one step further, there is also an array of different therapeutic activities for teens and kids you can introduce to your young clients to help them build their feelings of self-worth.
Goal-setting helps guide teenagers toward achievable and meaningful outcomes in their future. Working together, you and your client should come up with around 3 short-term goals and 3 long-term goals, along with a strategic plan for how your client can achieve these. When devising these goals, it’s a good idea to keep the SMART acronym in mind (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based).
Challenge negative beliefs
Negative self-esteem often derives from negative opinions that we hold about ourselves. Most of the time, we internally over-exaggerate these and they aren’t a reflection of how others see us. For this activity, teenagers should write down 2-3 negative beliefs they have about themselves. They should then take these to someone in their life (parents, friends, teachers, etc.) and ask for their opinion on the belief. Talking through negative beliefs with a trusted person can help diminish the power of the belief and even change it into something positive.
Starting the day thinking about something positive is a great mindfulness tip that can also help with emotional regulation. For this activity, teenagers should write down motivational quotes that inspire them – these could be from their favorite book, song, role model, or even a person in their life – and put them in a jar. Every morning, they can take a quote out of the jar and begin their day on a positive note.
Self-esteem worksheets for teens (with examples)
In addition to introducing activities to teenagers to help them improve their self-esteem, worksheets that specifically target this can also be extremely useful. Worksheets are versatile in their use: they encourage clients to be more engaged in their own care, foster a trusting and meaningful client/therapist relationship, and allow therapists to develop a specific treatment plan to guide clients toward their goals. As a therapist, you may find that you often treat clients for a range of different reasons, of which self-esteem is one. The best thing about using a worksheet is how well it can be used in conjunction with other resources. For example, check out our depression worksheet for teens, or our coping skills worksheet for teens. Combined with a self-esteem worksheet, these resources will help teenage clients achieve their goals and develop a strong sense of self-worth and confidence.
If you are wanting to download a self-esteem worksheet for teens today, then don’t worry, we can help with that. Check out our printable template below, designed to help teenage clients improve their self-esteem and self-worth.
Teaching teenagers the skills they need to develop their self-esteem is a very important aspect of working as a therapist. The longer you wait to introduce these skills to people, the more difficult they will likely find it. Although there is a range of different ways that adolescents can be taught how to improve their self-esteem and self-worth, hopefully, this guide has provided you with some useful tips, activities, and worksheets. Equipped with these tools, you’ll be able to teach your clients the skills they need to optimize their confidence and self-worth in no time, leading them to have an improved quality of life.