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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Self-esteem is determined by the level of satisfaction and confidence one has in oneself. Positive self-esteem comes from regarding oneself as good, competent, and worthy of love. Ideally, a positive self-concept begins to develop during childhood, based on experiences with family and friends. However, in some cases, children may feel rejected, neglected, or unloved, and negative self-esteem can develop as a result. Unfortunately, this can lead to a number of psychological and emotional problems, including, stress, anxiety, mood disorders, and depression. Teenagers with negative self-esteem may be more likely to experience problems with alcohol or drugs, eating disorders, and depression. They're also likely to do poorly in school, have problems making friends, and may engage in anti-social behavior such as vandalism. Often this behavior only enforces their negative self-perception, and a vicious cycle begins. This is why it's imperative that parents learn to see past the behavior, and concern themselves with their children's psychological and emotional problems. Children with low-self esteem are more likely to respond if they're parents are understanding and sympathetic. Parents should attempt to show interest in their child's activities, and be as supportive as possible. Most of all, parents and their teens need to develop open lines of communication. However, if a teen appears unresponsive, excessively violent, or severely depressed, psychological counseling or therapy may be necessary. For more information, consult a local health care provider.

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