What do you do if your son comes to you one morning and announces that he doesn't want to go to school? You then ask "Why not?" He retorts with "Because no one likes me; they might make fun of me". This is where you can begin teaching your teen about how to overcome low self-esteem.
What if he made a new friend the very next day, someone who liked him a lot and wanted to play the same games as he did? What if he became your son's very best friend? If he doesn't go to school, he misses the opportunity of meeting that new friend. Point out the positive side, what good things can happen.
Find some children's books about kids overcoming problems and finding the good things in life, and read them with your children. Or make up your own stories about kids facing their fears and coming out as winners. You may have to do a lot of storytelling before they're feeling braver, but it will happen. Relate some stories of your own courage and perseverance in school, to show your child it is possible to overcome fears and live happily. Teach them early on to consider the positive side to problems rather than the negative; that changing your attitude changes your life.
If you start the self-esteem boosting regimen early enough in their life, you can save yourself a lot of irritation later on. As children grow older, you have to deal more and more with adolescent emotions. By the time they hit their teen years, it's important to have that self-esteem firmly in place, if you can.
When your children hit the mid teens, they're seeing everything in black and white. If one of their friends inadvertently hurts their feelings, they could see that as meaning that no one likes them. Keep in mind that teen emotions are more intense and extreme than in early childhood. Your teens see themselves in a completely different way than your young children do.
Teens are undergoing cognitive and emotional development, and this can lead to them feeling depressed and moody. You'll find they have trouble developing a general idea based on a specific idea or experience. As children become teens, the biggest issue is developing their own personal independence. They are trying to master skills they need day-to-day and finding some control over their environment. They're accepting the fact that they're growing up and deciding if they feel safe in their little world.
They're searching for their own identities. In the process, they can sometimes go to extremes, going deliberately against your wishes and even your beliefs. Because of the changes taking place in their bodies and their minds, it can produce some depression and moodiness. This should not be confused with clinical depression. Keep in mind that teens express their emotions very differently than younger children. It may even seem to be a little overly dramatic in some cases.
As they strive towards self-understanding, they may see themselves as completely helpless, without talents and skills, hopeless cases; but as your teens learn to increase their own competence and self-understanding, the histrionics will diminish.
The best ways to handle the dramatics is to remain calm and continue to boost your teens' self-esteem. Show them that they do indeed have talents and skills; everyone does. At that age, they just haven't had a chance to discover them yet, but they will. As they show an interest in one subject after another, simply encourage them in each one. You'll never know when one will turn out to be the driving force in their life and become the dream for their future.