Building a Positive Image

Facilitate a positive image in preteens.
How do I help my 12-year-old daughter increase her self-esteem when my own is not that great?
Even though life experiences have not enabled you to feel positive self-esteem, you still can help others to build a positive image:
  1. Compliment your daughter on the decisions that she makes. When she has a problem, help her to search for ways to deal with the situation, rather than taking over the problem and telling her what she should do.

  2. Help her analyze her poor decisions so she can identify her mistakes and chart better courses of action.

  3. Encourage your daughter to take positive risks such as trying out for a sport, attending a club, or volunteering to work on a special project. By taking these risks, she can gain the attention from others who can support you in your efforts to make her feel significant.

  4. Teens feel most confident when they know they can make a difference -- that they can help others. Seek opportunities for her to show what she can do and where she can earn compliments from others, not just from her friends or her parents.

It's never too late to begin to find out just how great we really are. Make a list of your own strengths and find ways to use them more. Others will notice and value your contributions. Soon you'll be on the road to building your own self-esteem.

Judith Lee Ladd is a former president of the American School Counselor Association, a national organization of K-12 and post-secondary school counselors.

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