Low Self Esteem in Teens
Low self-esteem is when someone looks at themselves in a negative way. This doesn’t just happen teens don’t just hate themselves for no reason, the something that they experienced that is making them feel that way about themselves. Once formed, this negative view permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior. In high school there is a rising epidemic with low self-esteem with teens. Over 70% of girls in high school avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they have a low self-esteem about their appearance. This can cause teen to miss out on high school experiences.
There can be a lot of negative affect that can occur when having a low self-esteem. 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like; cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem. About 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.38% of boys in middle school and high school reported using protein supplements and nearly 6% admitted to experimenting with steroids.
Believe it or not your home life can have a major effect on your self-esteem. It doesn’t start at school it start where you live and grew up. You probably wouldn’t have thought this would be a factor in the epidemic but it actually is. It easy to overlook that the problem could start with the parents the people who have been there for them since day one but it actual fairly common. Having disapproving authority figures can cause a lot of stress and lack of self-esteem, if you were criticized no matter what you did or how hard you tried, it becomes difficult to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.
Having uninvolved/preoccupied caregivers is situation that can lead to low self-esteem issues. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to do better and achieve more when your parents are not there for you when you need them or show you the support you need to have the confidence. This can lead you to feel like you are nothing and nobody. Some days are harder to get through than other but it can get more difficult when you don’t have anyone there for you when you need it most, this causes you to feel abandoned and lost.
If parents are in conflict it can be difficult for your child to find support. Children pick up on the negative emotion they see at home and it adds to the already lowered self-esteem from the child being bullied and the stress they may be going through at school. This may also occur when a child’s parents or hysterical and unpredictable. A child shouldn’t have to worry about the parent being there for them, they should just expect it and receive the emotional support they need no questions asked. Often in situations like these the child will begin to blame themselves for their parent’s disagreement and can cause them to feel even worse about themselves because they see themselves as a problem or a mistake. It is possible that you will never stop blaming yourself for being the reason your parents fight, it can even carry on into you adult life.
When you are bullied and you have unsupportive parents you already felt unsafe at home and the torture continued outside home, the overwhelming sense of being lost, abandoned, hopeless, and filled with self-loathing pervaded your everyday life. It can also feel like anyone who befriends you is doing you a favor, because you see yourself as so damaged. You may think that anyone involved in your life must be predatory and not to be trusted. Without a supportive home life, the effects of bullying can be magnified and miserably erode quality of life.
If you are bullied while your parents were overly and indiscriminately supportive, it can leave you feeling unprepared for the cruel world. Without initial cause to develop a thick outer layer, it can feel challenging and even shameful to view yourself as unable to withstand the challenges of life outside the home. From this perspective, you may feel ill prepared and deeply ashamed to admit this dirty ugly secret about you, even to your parents, because you need to protect them from the pain they would endure if they knew. Eventually it can seem as if your parents’ opinion of you is in conflict with the world’s opinion of you. It can compel you to cling to what is familiar in your life, because it’s hard to trust what’s real and what isn’t.
If you are being bullied and have uninvolved parents your primary caregivers were otherwise occupied while you were being bullied and downplayed your experience, or they let you down when you needed their advocacy, you might have struggled with feeling undeserving of notice, unworthy of attention, and angry at being shortchanged. When the world feels unsafe, the shame and pain are brutal. These feelings could also be evoked if parents were in transitional or chaotic states. If there’s chaos at home, it can be hard to ask for attention or to feel like there is room for you take up space with your struggles.
In conclusion low self-esteem is a rising epidemic in teens in high school throughout the United States. It is very important that we stop this epidemic because it is highly likely that teen with a low self-esteem will later turn to negative habits like cutting, smoking, alcohol, bullying or eating disorders. As surprising as it is it may be starting outside of school at the one place that you should feel the safest. It not only at school where teen lose their self-esteem it can be at home too and then teens feel like they don’t have a safe place and they may even begin to feel isolated. Bulling also has a big part in causing problems with low self-esteem and can even lead the bullied to become the bully.
11 Facts About Teens and Self Esteem. (2014). Retrieved from Do Something: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teens-and-self-esteem
Psy.D, S. L. (2013, December 24). Retrieved from 10 Sources of Low Self-Esteem: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/me-we/201312/10-sources-low-self-esteem