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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Many teens suffer from low self-esteem and a poor self-image, and this can negatively affect every aspect of a teen's life. Of course, being insecure or unsure of what to do in certain situations is entirely normal, and it's important for both parents and teens to keep in mind that mistakes will be made. However, insecurities can become so profound that they take a significant psychological and emotional toll. When teens are insecure, they're more likely to succumb to peer pressure, leaving them vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse, antisocial behavior such as vandalism, eating disorders, and even severe depression. In order to avoid these problems, teens must learn to how to cope with a variety of new situations, and they must trust themselves to make their own decisions. They should be encouraged to pursue their individual interests, and not to allow themselves to be manipulated by others. Parents can help foster self-worth and confidence in their children by attempting to establish a home environment of mutual trust and understanding. It's extremely important that parents and teens learn to communicate effectively. Parents can't help their children if they aren't aware of the problems being faced, and children are unlikely to approach their parents for advice if they can't count on an objective, nonjudgmental response. For more information, consult a local health care professional.

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