Single Parenting And Self Esteem Of The Adolescent Child

Is your teenager showing signs of low self esteem? Don’t be hard on yourself, before laying blame on your single parent status first look at the fundamentals of acknowledgement. Some teen self esteem issues are simply a matter of needing attention and recognition. Consider this before you feel guilty in thinking your single status is the influencing factor.

By doing so, you will be able to more clearly recognise which areas your single parent stature affects the self esteem of the adolescent child and which areas do not. This will make it easier to remedy matters and areas relating to single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child that can be isolated and brought under control.

The media and self esteem

Webster defines self-esteem as “an objective respect for or favorable impression of oneself, an inordinately or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself.” In other words, how you feel about yourself. Self esteem is developed from a very young age with a preference for physical attractiveness beginning in infancy. The media plays a huge role in cultural ideas relating to physical beauty even during preschool. Girls who develop early have less self esteem while boys and boys who develop early have a stronger sense of self. As a result of these cultural imprints adolescent self esteem is grounded in appearance.
Single Parent and Self Esteem
To better understand the roles of single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child its important to be aware that children who feel as if they do not fit this cultural norm and feel inadequate may in extreme cases develop bulimia, self-mutilation and suicide. The media’s role has placed more pressure on females than males portraying them in a certain light, making it difficult to attempt to live up to these superficial expectations. Teens aren’t always privy to the use of technology which is used to touch up imperfections.

When interviewing a professional makeup artist and former model, Tammy Hammonds, she said, “It’s sad that so many young people think they should look like those portrayed in magazines. In actuality, those models have cellulite, pimples, bad hair days, and freckles! Mothers in need of some sanity when it comes to issues around single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child must make their daughters aware of this as early as possible in life.

With boys its role models who succeed at sport with good builds such as Michael Jordan . Once again, we are all different – the essence of beauty itself. This can only be truly harnessed by understanding the psychological implications of self esteem and that the source of confidence is much vaster than ones looks. As a role model to your children, the following tips can assist in lifting your self esteem so you can mirror this back to them;

  • Fulfill their “Touch Needs”: A positive family support system can help adolescents feel important, needed, and loved. Having these “touch needs” fulfilled in the home means they won’t go out into the world for it. These dangers include teenage pregnancy, drugs or STD’s
  • Be Involved: In matters of single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child, your ongoing role model status can be bolstered by having a passion for something outside work, such as dance, sports, art, poetry or music. Encourage your teen to find something they can excel in, within realistic boundaries of course.
  • Find Out Who You Are: A sense of self can assist in navigating day to day struggles. When you know what you are about, there is a sense of control that emerges which feeds self esteem.
  • Plenty of solutions in regard to single parenting and self esteem can be found by enrolling professional and loving support from friends and family.

Single parent ‘autocrat or indulgent’?

As a single parent, in order to isolate which areas your teen needs self esteem boosts, it is important to be aware of natural parenting tendencies which affect adolescent behaviour. Studies show the need to distinguish between two types of “permissive” families: those that are indulgent and those that are neglectful. According to tests groups of 14-18yr olds have been classified into 1 of 4 groups namely;

  • authoritative
  • authoritarian
  • indulgent
  • neglectful

In order to do this classification, adolescents rated their parents on dimensions of acceptance/involvement and strictness/supervision. This is helpful when understanding dynamics of single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child. According to the research, adolescents whose parents are characterized as authoritarian behave in obedience and conformity to the standards of adults, but have relatively poorer self esteem than other youngsters. While on the other hand, adolescents from indulgent single parent homes show a strong sense of self-confidence but report a higher frequency of say substance abuse and school misconduct as well as being less engaged in school. It is thus important for single parents to seek a balance between being authoritative/authoritarian/indulgent and neglectful.

Boundaries and teen self esteem

To find the balance toward understanding factors which may influence the self esteem of a teen, the single parent can always follow the guidance of Focus Adolescent Services, the largest and most comprehensive Internet site of information and resources on teen and family issues to help and support families with troubled and at-risk teens. This is a great resource for your questions in regard to single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child. One of their many support systems include expert Dr Townsend’s book ‘When to Say Yes, How to Say No: Boundaries with Teens’.

In his book, Dr. Townsend, father of 2 teens, addresses basic underlying concepts for parenting teens. The first three sections of the book deal with boundaries which can assist a single parent in understanding the teenage world and setting boundaries with your teen. This assists parents and single parents to build better relationships with their adolescents and to monitor their sense of self.

Dr Townsend’s book deals with typical teen adolescent behaviour facing parents. Many of these include behaviours which have a direct impact on the self esteem of the adolescent child, some of which result from low levels of confidence. While researching solutions around single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child, being aware of these behaviours can become a guide to understanding which factors bear on confidence.
Among others such behaviours include;

  • having a disrespectful attitude toward parents, family and others
  • challenging request or rule
  • is self absorbed and unable to see things from anyone else’s perspective
  • is lazy and careless about responsibilities
  • is emotionally withdrawn and distant from you

Single Parenting And Self Esteem Of The Adolescent Child

The abovementioned factors can play into a teen’s sense of self and impact their confidence. When it comes to relevant aspects of single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child for example, a lazy careless teen may lack self respect, therefore addressing respect by instilling a sense of worth and acknowledgment of self within the teen can help the single parent to address disrespect.

If a teen is emotionally withdrawn or distant this is a sign that self esteem is low, creating a wall between the teen and the parent. Single parents can use this as an indicator to recognize the need for the child to be either acknowledged for an achievement or recognized for surviving the ongoing struggle of adolescence. This way the teen will feel less alone and release a certain amount of the self judgment which is propping up emotional withdrawal.

Serving matters relating to single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child, Focus Adolescent services online is a valuable source of guidance. There are schools and camps, family help pages and plenty of professional advice. Remember that no matter what you are dealing with, you are not alone as a single parent.

The US Census Bureau shows that single mother families have increased from as much as 3 million in the 70’s to 10 million in 2003. Single parent father families on the other hand climbed from less than half a million to 2 million. Regardless of what your situation is, whether due to divorce, death or adoption, according to Focus whatever the situation, you can raise well-adjusted children and have a happy home. In fact, connections between single parenting and self esteem of the adolescent child can prove to show that an individual parent family can foster confidence by its sheer ability to overcome obstacles and challenges.

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