Adopted children who have lived through adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and early childhood trauma have an increased risk of struggling with low self-worth. Similarly, a lack of parental support during a child’s formative years can influence how they identify with peers and others around them. Children who are overweight face added stigma and social isolation. One study in Academic Pediatrics reported, “Obese teens had particularly high rates of low self-esteem (30%).”
Low self-esteem can impact many areas of a child’s development and day-to-day life. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a “sense of rejection may lead to challenges with self-esteem” for some adopted children. Professional mental health services can help children establish a healthy sense of self-worth. Havenwood Academy provides residential mental health treatment programs that help young women grow and heal.
Mental Health and Positive Self-Worth
ACEs directly affect a child’s ability to regulate their emotions and establish healthy boundaries. According to Development and Psychopathology, “Children who are adopted from care are more likely to experience enduring emotional and behavioral problems across development.” Teens with behavioral issues often feel much lower self-esteem than their peers. In addition, trauma and other underlying problems may leave children feeling unloved, unlovable, rejected, or helpless.
Parents can help children who have low self-esteem by ensuring they have access to mental health services. Havenwood Academy offers a comprehensive residential treatment program that empowers teen girls to overcome challenges related to mental health issues.
The benefits of our program include the following:
- Essential skill development
- Positive peer interactions
- Confidence-building exercises and activities
- Individual and group therapy
- Educational services that ensure academic success
Professional residential treatment teaches teens how to rely on their inner strength. The skills they learn will enhance their self-confidence and problem-solving skills. Parents can contribute to their child’s mental health improvement by helping them maintain the healthy routines they learn during treatment.
4 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Self-Worth
Low self-esteem reduces a child’s motivation to learn and explore during early education. Empowering a child improves their self-worth and helps them gain confidence in their ability to overcome challenges. Below are four ways parents can enhance their child’s sense of self-worth.
#1 Provide a Warm and Nurturing Home Environment
Children often construct their sense of self-worth around how caregivers treat them and their home environment. Early childhood trauma involving abuse or neglect can affect how children see themselves. A structured, nurturing home life with parental figures who actively listen and encourage self-expression can improve a child’s self-worth.
#2 Engage Them in Active Communication
Your child might feel rejected, abandoned, stigmatized, or alienated from loved ones and peers. Active listening is the only way to know how the child feels and how to help her gain confidence. Sometimes it takes a while for children to feel comfortable confiding their emotions. However, if parents regularly engage in active communication, it can help them feel more confident.
Some of the most common sources of low self-esteem in adopted teens include peer pressure and miscommunications. By being open and honest, parents can give their children an opportunity to ask for clarification or support when they feel uncertain.
#3 Let Them Try New Things
Giving teens opportunities to try new things is an excellent way to help them gain confidence and a sense of self-worth. In addition, parents need to allow their children some trial and error without constantly interfering. Providing the resources for new experiences gives teens a chance to take healthy risks and learn.
According to Bruce D. Perry in The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog, “We need to allow children to try and fail. And when they do make the stupid, shortsighted decisions that come from inexperience, we need to let them suffer the results.” The developing brains of teenagers will absorb that input and rewrite how they perceive themselves and others.
#4 Teach Your Child About Social Stigmas
Language matters, and how parents talk about their child plays a role in determining how well they react to social pressures. Parents can empower children by listening to them and showing them the value of self-acceptance. Teenagers will likely encounter peers who do not understand the realities of mental health disorders. Stigmas and misinformation might cause them to repeat myths about mental health. Providing objective facts and reliable informational resources can help children learn how to counter biases and misinformation.
Personalized Therapy Increases Self-Worth
Therapy can help a child heal and grow. Certain therapeutic methods like animal-assisted therapy provide children with an opportunity to interact with peers in a low-stress environment. Caring for or interacting with animals is an excellent way to help children gain self-confidence and self-esteem. Havenwood Academy offers a wide range of therapies, including animal-assisted therapy, to help teens overcome mental health issues and trauma.
Children who attend residential mental health programs when they’re struggling have a lower risk of developing additional behavioral or mental health issues. The skills they learn will encourage the development of healthy self-worth.
Positive self-worth is essential to ensure teenagers build a healthy self-identity as they transition into adulthood. Adopted children have a higher risk of struggling with low self-esteem and decreased self-confidence. You can help your child build up their sense of self-worth by treating them with compassion and respect. Trust them and give them room to grow and explore their abilities. Children who feel safe and valued will have an easier time improving their self-esteem. Havenwood Academy provides teens with a structured and welcoming space where they can feel heard and understood. We can address underlying mental health issues that might have affected your child’s self-esteem. To learn more about our residential program, call (435) 586-2500.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.