Many emotions, physical and hormonal changes, relational crises and personal issues accompany adolescence. Often, these changes take a toll on the self-esteem of a teenager.
Components of Healthy Self-Esteem
Much has been written about self-esteem and the components of healthy self-esteem for a teenager. In our training programs at Lakeside, we have used a great book as a resource on healthy self-esteem: How to Raise Children’s Self-Esteem, by Clemes and Bean.
Additionally, Denise Small, one of our educators, developed a simple acronym, CUPS, representing the four components of self-esteem. It is easy to remember and very helpful to understand. The acronym stands for a teen’s need of connectiveness, uniqueness, power, and a sense of role models.
In my next few posts I will talk a little about each of these components.
When we think of Connectiveness, we think about the extent to which adolescents believe:
- they are part of something
- they can relate to other people
- they can identify with special groups
- they have a sense of heritage
- that something important belongs to them
- that they belong to something or someone
- that people or things they are connected to are held in high esteem by others
- that they are important
- that they are connected to their own bodies
It is important to observe and be aware of connectiveness in the life of your teenager as there are usually some very clear signs that he is not feeling connected. He may feel more comfortable in groups. He may think he is a loner, have a hard time communicating or maintaining friendships, be shy and withdrawn, or aggressive and demanding.
Too little connection leaves a teenager feeling alone, abandoned and isolated. Too much connection may give an impression the teen possesses little sense of self, or is too conforming and overly dependent.
By being observant, you will be mindful of some of the factors that may lead to low self-esteem. Your awareness could also uncover other problems that your teen may be experiencing or will experience in the days to come.
In my next post, I will write about some ways that parents and caregivers can increase the connectiveness of their adolescent. There are practical steps that you can take to make sure your teenager is feeling connected to you and to her family. Connectiveness will have a major impact on how she relates to her entire world in the years to come.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
*Some information taken from Diane Wagenhals Understanding Teens