Parents often hope that their children will learn and build strength or character from setbacks in life, but it may not be as simple if they have low self-esteem. After all junior high and high school is often filled with social rejection and ever-changing relationships among friends and others. If we stop to think on this for a bit, we find that being harassed by someone who is looking for conflict is one of the most uncomfortable things we can experience in school. Here are three steps parents can take in helping their pre-teens and teens to develop confidence and the resilience to overcome bullying.
Measuring Up. Often our self-esteem is shaped in part due to messages we grow up with. Parents who reflect on their child's upbringing may uncover some potential factors such as how parenting, family relationships, and cultural values and beliefs may have shaped their self-esteem. When children don't feel like they measure up to what is expected of them by themselves or others, it results in their adopting a negative perception of themselves from not being what they think they need or should be. Raising awareness of this can help pre-teens and teens begin to determine and distinguish what and how they value and measure their self-worth. It's important for parents to be mindful how they react, and try not overreact when their teen doesn't meet certain expectations, such as grade slipping. Many teens interpret their parent's reaction of disappointment as rejection. Parents sadly realize that their reaction to poor grades have been interpreted as: "you will only accept me if I get good grades in school".