We’ve all been through it. It has been some of the most awkward years of our life. Who doesn’t remember being a teenager and feeling insecure about a lot of different things, even the most insignificant and trivial stuff? As adults, we tend to just laugh at these things whenever we look back but back then, it was a huge deal to us.
Just because we grew older, and we think we know better now, it shouldn’t make us undermine what our teenagers are going through. Believe it or not, countless adults have been scarred for life because they never moved on from their teenage insecurities.
We wanted to be taken seriously by adults when we were kids. Now that we’re all grown up, perhaps it’s time we give our teens what most of us wanted but never got.
Here are three of their top insecurities and how you, as a parent, can help them deal with it.
Insecurities about Body Image
Perhaps the most common insecurities every teenager goes through revolves around their physical appearance. What teenager has not felt embarrassed by a zit that grew the night before a very important presentation or first date? We’ve all been through some hell like that and while it may seem funny now, it meant the whole world to us back then.
Much of these insecurities are brought about by the changes in their body at this age. While it’s easy to get acne removal or lingual braces to improve their appearance, often the issue has nothing to do with them but with the unrealistic ideals they see on TV and social media.
Help them deal with this by reminding them that this is just a transitional phase between childhood and adulthood. It’s also important that they accept their imperfections and flaws and embrace these for these are the qualities that set them apart from everyone.
Of course, you still need to encourage them to take care of their bodies as best as they can but teach them that real beauty goes beyond physical appearance. Teach them to work on their personality as much as they work on their physical appearance for this is what will attract people to them and make them stick around.
Insecurities about Social Judgment
Another thing that stirs up feelings of insecurity in teens is social judgment. It comes in the form of odd and off-handed looks and glares, exclusion, offensive words, and social media, among others.
While it’s easy to tell them to just shrug their shoulders and don’t mind these people, often, that just won’t do the trick. It might work for some but generally, teenagers want to feel like they belong — that they’re accepted and significant.
Unfortunately, we all know far too well that the world just doesn’t work that way. The best way to help them deal with this is to teach them that there are far too many people in life that deserve their time and attention, people that love them for who they really are. Help them identify who these people are in their life by talking to them and asking them about their circle of friends. Encourage them to get to know these people they call friends on a deeper level. Tell them to be on the lookout for people who sincerely care about their welfare and well-being, ones that boost their confidence and empower them to be who they are and not force them to change just to belong.
Ultimately, it will start with you. Teach your kids the difference between acceptance and approval. Once they understand that, they will start to look at things from a different perspective and walk to a different beat.
Insecurities about Uncertainties
Teenagers aren’t the ones who struggle with this. Even adults tend to get anxious about what lies ahead. Whenever we’re put in an unfamiliar situation or face too many unknown variables, we either cower or panic.
If as adults, we respond that way, imagine what it’s like for a young person. That’s just too much to fathom. Situations such as moving to a new city or neighborhood, going to college, joining a new club, meeting new people can be scary for them. What if they don’t fit in? What if people don’t like them? What if they embarrass themselves? These are some of the thoughts going on in their minds when they are faced with these unknowns.
Tell them that whenever they are faced with these doubts and insecurities, remind themselves of their strengths and gifts. For instance, if they are warm, witty, and thoughtful, tell them to bring those qualities upfront when they’re meeting new people. Teach them that it’s okay to be afraid sometimes, but they should never be paralyzed to take a step forward. They won’t know they can walk on water until they step out of the boat.
Teenagers’ insecurities should never be taken lightly. They are at a very difficult point in their lives that, if handled wrongly, may leave them scarred for life.