Teens more self-confident than previous generation

Teens more self-confident than previous generation

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Good news for parents. Teens seem to be more confident in themselves than you were at their age. But if parents aren't careful, they could still mess up their children with high self-esteem.

Go ahead, teens, tell me what you think about yourselves.

One girl told me she thinks she's an "OK person." Others say they think highly of themselves and they don't put themselves down. One boy simply said, "I'm cool." Generally, they had positive things to say.

A survey by researchers at the University of Michigan says more high school seniors in 2006 think they would make good employees, mates and parents compared to seniors in 1975. Some teens I spoke with said that sounds weird. One of them said she believes teens have more pressures now.

So teens these days have high self-esteem. That's great. So there's nothing wrong that could possibly come of that. Right?


Vista Counseling Services Executive Director Dr. Matt Checketts said, "I think it's good people have good self-esteem, but sometimes they're not as adjusted as they may think they are."

Checketts says he counsels teens who have a very difficult time adjusting to life outside of home. "For one reason or another, they just didn't have the coping skills that it took to be involved in college or at a later point maybe even real life."

The problem stems from moms and dads who give needed praise leading to high self-esteem, but avoid giving constructive criticism when it's warranted.

"I think that when someone is complimentary to the point that they are almost unbelievable, I think the kids, you know, they start to gain a false sense of themselves," Checketts said.

Checketts says parents shouldn't be negative with their kids, but some parents may find it too tough to be critical of their children in any way. He says many of these kids can tell their parents aren't exactly being honest with them.

"Some of those kids don't listen to their parents as much as they really should and end up seeking the feedback of their peers because their peers tend to give them more legitimate feedback and conversation and sometimes parents don't," he explained.

But Checketts says the news that teens have higher self-esteem than before is more good news than bad.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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