Adolescence can be a difficult time, both for teens and for parents. Marital separation, divorce, remarriage, or other sort of emotional upheaval can contribute enormously to a teen's emotional insecurity. It's always important to promote a teen's feelings of positive self-worth at a time when he or she is under enormous pressure to think and be a certain way from outside influences, such as peers and the fashion and entertainment industries. Teens whose sense of worth is being constantly torn down with negative comments or high expectations from parents can end up reacting in unproductive and harmful ways. These can include developing eating disorders, joining a gang, becoming involved sexually, and using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Helping a teen develop a strong sense of identity and a conviction that his or her future is worth protecting is one way to deter these harmful activities. Encourage the child's strong points, without exerting pressure to overachieve. Don't compare the child with other kids, or with siblings. Each child has unique talents and qualities.
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