Activities to Build Self Esteem in Adolescents

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As if the physical changes and hormonal fluctuations of adolescence are not enough to put youngsters in an emotional and psychological tailspin, peer pressure, socioeconomic status and various other factors all take a toll on the self-esteem of youth. Bullying, prejudice, rejection and stereotyping are all problems faced by impressionable youngsters that lead to self-doubt and damaged self-worth. Parents, educators and other community adults can work together to encourage children to think for themselves and stop worrying about the opinion of others. There are many different activities that caring adults might use to boost the self-esteem of local adolescents.

The Compliment Journal recommends that parents consider creating a personalized journal for each preteen or a teenager in the home. Prologue each journal with words of encouragement and appreciation for who the youngster is as a person and what they mean to you. Instruct each child that upon awakening each morning, they are to look in a mirror and gift themselves with at least three compliments. They must then record the compliments in the journal. The exercise is designed to teach self-love and build confidence without looking to peers or others.

Self-Esteem Calendar

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests buying a blank calendar for youngsters. For each day, the preteen or teen must choose an activity to perform sometime during the day. Daily activities can be added weekly or a month in advance. The activity might be a hobby, a sport that they enjoy or learning something new. The idea behind the project involves encouraging youngsters to cultivate their talents, interests and build self-worth while enjoying life to the fullest.

Esteem-Building Focus Groups

This activity is ideal for Sunday School classes, youth groups or youth camps. However, in order for teens to reap the benefit, all involved must be familiar with one another. After setting a predetermined time limit, the adult leader chooses one teen and encourages the group to share quality characteristics that they admire in that individual. When the time is up, the leader chooses the next teen. Though a preteen or teen should not base their self-worth on the opinion of others, this exercise allows them to see that they are not alone, not invisible and are appreciated.

Self-Esteem Bucket recommends this powerful visual activity as a means of illustrating the impact that negativity has on others. Take a plastic bucket and hammer a desired number of nails from the outside in. Fill the bucket with water. Explain to the group that the bucket represents a teen and the water in the bucket represents self-esteem. Remove one nail while making a hurtful comment or mentioning a negative action that one might inflict on an individual. Challenge the teens to brainstorm constructive ways to plug the hole.


Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Activities to Build Self Esteem in Adolescents," in, March 25, 2016, (accessed August 13, 2022).