A recent study has found that 8 out of 10 girls aged 8 to 16, will opt out of fundamental life activities such as attending school, playing sports or engaging with friends, due to low self-esteem.
That’s a whopping 80 per cent of adolescent girls who are so worried about their appearance that it is preventing them from participating in every-day activities that are essential to their physical, academic and social wellbeing.
As well as opting out of activities, the majority of the girls surveyed also revealed that they are not assertive or confident in their opinions if they don’t feel good about the way they look, which isn’t a great sign if we want a future of female leaders and businesswomen.
Dove’s mission is to change this and to ensure the next generation of Kiwis grow up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them to reach their full potential.
Working in partnership with the Life Education Trust and Girl Guides New Zealand, Dove’s Global Self-Esteem Project is striving to reach and positively influence 18,000 young Kiwis over the next year by providing parents, teachers and mentors with life changing self-esteem building programs.
So far, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached 19 million young people in over 138 countries worldwide to date, and aims to reach 1 million across Australia and New Zealand, and a further 20 million globally by 2020.
If you’re worried about your teenager’s self-esteem, look out for signs like poor body image, a negative mood and low motivation – and try some of these tips on improving self-esteem.
1. Praise them on things other than how they look
Make sure that you are complimenting your children on their academic and social attributes as well as their positive personality traits. It is important that their self-esteem can be derived from things that are completely separated from their looks.
2. Model body acceptance
Practise what you preach! Be kind to yourself and be aware of how you talk about your body, they learn from you.
3. Encourage effort rather than performance.
Focus less on the outcome of tasks, and more on efforts and the development of new skills. Mastery is what builds confidence, and learning to tolerate failure fosters resilience.
4. Get them involved in team sports or healthy activities
Research has found that have shown that girls who play team sports tend to have higher self-esteem than those that don’t. Team sports give girls the opportunity to develop lasting, healthy relationships with their peers as well as building confidence in their own accomplishments.
5. Try the Dove Self Esteem Program
If you’re a mentor, download the mentor’s guide, Mindful Me, containing step-by-step activities encouraging a mindful approach to physical appearance.
For teachers and educators, get started with The Confident Me workshop to help students learn to deal with appearance pressures and build body confidence.