Building Your Teenager’s Self-Esteem by Using Parental Intelligence

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.’s new book,

Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior,

will be released on October 13, 2015. Keep an eye out for it.


Self-Esteem Grows in Teenagers With

Parental Intelligence

Self-esteem is the value teens place on their self-worth. Adolescents need to develop a healthy sense of self-love. They often ask themselves how they measure up compared to others. The crux of the matter is what they value such as their grades, the number of friends they have, their appearance, their kindness to others, their talents and interests.
Parental Intelligence means understanding what goes on in your own mind before you can understand what goes on in the mind of your teen. After you understand your own values, you can help your teen develop a set of values to make his or her own self-assessment.

Two Parenting Steps to Help Teens Develop Values

Step One

The first step for helping to build your teen’s self-worth is to clarify for yourself the values you want to impart. Only when you are clear about your own values can you can determine how high to set the bar for each individual teen based on their stage of development and capabilities.

Step Two

The second step is to set clear expectations for standards you want your teen to meet. Expectations need to be specific and appropriate for your particular teen, so they know what they are striving for.

Questions Parents Ask Themselves About Values

They Want to Impart to their Teenagers

1. School Work

“How high a priority is my child’s education?’”
“What does it mean to “’Try Your Best?’”
“How capable is my child of organizing homework, getting tasks in on time, getting high grades?”

2. Friendships

“Have I discussed with my child what real friendship consists of?”
“What is the difference between Facebook or other social media friends and intimate friends?
“How do I prioritize kindness, empathy, popularity?”

3. Appearance

“How important to me is a dress code, the use of make-up, having popular fashions?”
“How important to me is a healthy weight, athleticism, good hygiene?”
“What outward standard do I set for myself as an example?

4. Personal Interests

“How do I prioritize athletics, academics, creative endeavors, social events?
“How well do I know my child’s favorite interests and do I want to encourage them?

How Do I Create Open Dialogue with My Child and Teen About Values? 4 Talking Tips

Once you have used your Parental Intelligence to decide what values you wish to impart, they can be shared by your example and by open dialogue.

1.The best way talk to a teen is to hear what they have to say then listen, listen, listen.

The common parenting mistake is to launch into one’s own agenda before hearing all the teen has to say. Parental Intelligence means taking the time to really understand your teen’s points of view.

2. To help your teen explore their values a parent can share what is important to herself. Kids like to hear what’s important to you. Then elicit your teen’s opinions on these values.

3.It’s best not to try and reach ready conclusions but to keep opening the exploration by reaching for more information, details, and examples.

4. The more interested you actually are in your teen’s points of view, the more your teen will open up with their thoughts and feelings. This is using your Parental Intelligence.

In this way, before you know it, you and your teen have the kind of relationship where values are explored. Then your child can come to you when his or her self-esteem is wobbly and you can reopen the discussion of what is really important in your view and in your teen’s view.

This is an ongoing parent-child partnership that builds a close bond.