Teen self-esteem is not as tricky as you might think. It’s actually quite easy to understand. Think of their self-esteem as a finicky orchid flower that needs constant attention and its environment around it always seems to be conspiring to wilt it! It is very much the same with an adolescent’s self-esteem.
Your teenager is starting to date and you are worried: Will they be safe? Will they have made good decisions in their relationships? Will they know where to go if they need help? A healthy dating relationship can help a teen develop a positive self-image. It is an opportunity to learn how to empathize and understand others. However, they also need to be aware of red flags that can exist in unhealthy relationships.
Every school year, we are bombarded with stories (often from south of the border) of girls being sent home from school for showing their legs, or shoulders, or even their collar bones.
More and more, young women and their parents are pushing back against this pressure from schools. School dress codes target girls unfairly, they claim, and force young women to miss instructional time so they don't 'distract' their male counterparts (or, more disturbingly, the male staff.) At the same time, many parents are uncomfortable with sending their teens to school in stiletto heels and tiny skirts.
How do you balance your desire to be a progressive and egalitarian parent with your desire to make sure that your teen is being seen for who she is, not what she wears?
Once considered a hallmark of high school, peer pressure is showing up earlier and earlier. Case in point: recent research from the University of Maryland found that children can recognize group dynamics and feel pressured by peers as early as age nine. Widespread smartphone and social media use by children at earlier ages (the average age for a first smartphone is 11) means that social pressure moves at a faster pace and can be harder for parents to detect.
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