Lifting Her Up: 5 ways to help a young girl struggling with low self esteem

In this era of supermodel social media stars, makeup tutorials and unparalleled levels of peer pressure in schools, young girls are paying the price. Recent studies show, in fact, that 74 percent of girls report that they feel pressured to please everyone. A full 98 percent of girls feels strong pressure from outside sources to look a certain way; and that accordingly, 92 percent of teen-aged girls would prefer to change some aspect of their appearance. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that 1 in 4 girls struggles with depression, eating disorders, cutting, and related mental and emotional disorders.

Playing a Positive Role

As a parent, you can play a key role in preventing and reversing these disturbing trends. So with that in mind, here are the 5 ways to help a young girl struggling with low self-esteem.

  1. Boost her confidence. Heap praise upon your daughter, complimenting her academic performance, her kindness, her intelligence, her looks, etc. The more you build her up, the less likely the outside world is to tear her down and denigrate her.
  2. Encourage her to find and hone her talents. If your daughter discovers her life’s passion at an early age—whether it takes the form of sports, the arts, STEM, etc.—then she will have something to focus on and take pride in; and as she accrues honors and accomplishments in this area, her self-esteem will escalate and she will cultivate interests that could lead to a future career. And on a related note…
  3. Encourage her to set goals. If your daughter is focused on winning that competition, earning that scholarship, acing that big test, then she will stress less about shallow issues like appearance, clothes, popularity, etc.
  4. Reveal the illusion of social media. If your daughter idolizes an actress, model, or social media star based largely on her appearance and fashion sense, then point out to her the illusions and enhanced images that these people often present; glorified images achieved with the aid of airbrushing, camera lenses, and other tools of the trade. When she sees the truth behind the façade, then she will be less likely to compare herself to an impossible standard.
  5. Let her know that you’re there for her. Make yourself available to your daughter, to talk to her about and help guide her through the stormy waters that define the experience of growing up and growing out of it.

Asheville Academy can help

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Asheville Academy is an accredited therapeutic boarding school geared toward girls ages 10-14, that are struggling with various emotional and behavioral issues. Visit or call (800) 264-8709 for more information.