National Teen Self-Esteem Month was established to create awareness about the negative effects poor self-esteem causes among the teen population. During this month, parents and guardians are encouraged to act as positive role models, help stop negative self-images, and improve confidence and security among adolescents. Many adolescents and young adults in America struggle with negative self-images and low self-esteem, which may affect several aspects of their daily lives. Evidence shows that negative self-esteem hinders learning abilities and also increases the risk to develop eating disorders, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts. A negative self-image is also often a characteristic among adolescents involved in teen dating violence. This behavior has been shown to be more common among high school students than previously thought.
Males with low self-esteem are more likely to become perpetrators of dating violence, while females with low self-esteem often become victims. Other risk factors include alcohol and drug use, depression, violent peers, learning difficulties, lack of parental supervision and support, and previous exposure to violence in the home or in the community.
There are many approaches that can be taken when trying to prevent poor self-esteem, or repair/build self-esteem. An organization that is addresses building self-esteem of teen mothers is New Moms.
New Moms serves a population that is highly at-risk—overlooked, underserved, and under-funded. Most often, participants arrive at New Moms with nothing more than a baby in their arms and a trash bag full of their belongings. 97% are either Latino or African-American, between the ages of 13 and 21, with children 5 years old or younger. When these young women come to us, approximately 80% have dropped out of school, and are operating at an average 4th grade educational level. Only about 25% have ever held a job. Almost all are multi-generational welfare recipients, or have no income at all. 100% are living in extreme poverty (200% or more below the poverty threshold). Over 75% do not live with immediate family members. Most have no permanent home, and report “couch surfing” from one potentially dangerous, transient living situation to another, children in tow. Many are officially homeless, living on the streets with their children. Most are survivors—or continuing victims—of abuse, neglect, abandonment, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence.
To support New Moms, please visit: http://www.newmomsinc.org/