Here is where the biggest problems develop. As parents we aren’t always consistent in reinforcing our teens’ positives during this difficult period of time. That’s because we don’t always see this transitional phase as part of normal development, bur rather as rebelliousness. Therefore, rather than supporting and “finding the positives” in our teens, we become critical. So, who is recharging their batteries? The battery that doesn’t get recharged becomes weak and drained – what we see in our teens manifested as depression and anxiety. Remember Shelly at the beginning of this article?
The challenge we have as parents is to teach our children to recognize their own successes. This means we must teach the skills to be self-critical and how to have a fair awareness and judgment of oneself. This is difficult once the young child has relied on others for his “recharge” of his self-esteem in the early years. The challenge is that most parents are not good at teaching their children how to recognize their own positives and, therefore, how to “self-praise.”
One reason for this is that most parents were not taught to self-praise. In fact, they want their children to be like them, to continue their values and beliefs. However, as noted, the nature of teens is to develop one’s own sense of self. If the teen does not get praise and positive reinforcement, he will develop poor self-esteem as his “self-esteem batteries” lose their charge. Therefore, it is critical that at an early age we teach our children those “WOW” moments, those moments where they can feel proud of themselves.