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Teen Self Image

Teen self image can be very positive or very negative and usually has the equal consequence. In this article we will review how negative self image can lead to damaging behaviors and how to develop a positive self image, including statistics results.


Self image is the mental picture that you have of yourself. The teen years represent one of the pivotal times for the development of self image. It is at this time that many teenagers develop the personalities that they will have the rest of their lives. And this picture they have of themselves can influence the kinds of friends they have, the choices they make and their performance at school and work. In order to have a successful and fulfilling life, a teen needs to develop a positive self image.

Negative self image can lead to damaging behaviors

In recent years, studies (including one at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) have shown a correlation between negative self image and damaging behaviors. Without the confidence to stand up for oneself, teenagers may look for acceptance by having unprotected sex, doing drugs or abusing alcohol. When teenagers do not think they are valued by their parents, or if they feel they are being ignored, they may act out in ways that can hurt them for the rest of their lives.

Another problem stemming from negative self image can be suicidal tendencies. If a teen feels worthless, unwanted and depressed, he or she may decide to take his or her own life. This can be a very painful experience for everyone involved • especially family and friends.

Developing a positive self image

In order to help your teenager develop a positive self image, it is important to make sure that he or she feels worthwhile and knows that you care. In fact, even if your teenager is exhibiting inappropriate behaviors, it is important that you show unconditional love and offer your help and support. Additionally, there are a number of things you can support that can help your teenager feel useful and involved.

One of the most important things you can do is encourage your teenager in accomplishments. These accomplishments can be at school, work, home or with extracurricular activities. Having something that your teen does well • or is at least improving at • can help him or her feel a sense of accomplishment that can help them develop a positive self image. Setting goals and achieving them, as well as being involved, can help teenagers feel connected to others and as though they are doing something worthwhile.

You can help your teenager by encouraging his or her efforts, and by supporting their decisions to do their best. You should praise improvement and encourage your teenager to excel. Attend ceremonies and events so that you can show your support for your teenager on a regular basis.

Constructive correction is also important. Helping your teenager’s self image does mean you ignore all the negative things. You should be helping your teen improve, and correcting behavior. But you should do so in a constructive and gentle manner. And, while you are pointing out areas that need improvement, you should also take the time to make sure that you praise your teenager for what he or she is doing well.

A positive self image can provide a teenager with confidence and with the good feelings that make it possible for him or her to do his or her best, and to say no when confronted with the temptation of dangerous or damaging behaviors.

Related Article: Teen Self Esteem >>

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