An excerpt from The Puberty Book by Kelsey Powell and Wendy Darvill.

Looking and feeling good........

A few words of wisdom to share with your kids as they transit through this time-zone!


You may have heard people talk about self-esteem and how some people have high self-esteem and how others have low self-esteem. It is a term that is used a lot but what does it mean?

Self-esteem is about how people value themselves. People with high self-esteem mostly feel good about things; they are confident and believe in themselves.

They still may have days when they experience some self-doubt, but generally they feel that they are worthwhile.

People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, nearly always have self-doubt and don't value themselves. They lack confidence and are always comparing themselves to others and feeling they don't measure up, a sure way for anyone to feel inadequate.

There are lots of things that contribute to how you feel about yourself, including your personal circumstances and the experiences you have had. Even though you don't always have control over these events, there are some ways you can help yourself to feel better about things and improve your self-esteem.

Ways to improve your self esteem:

  • Stop giving yourself a hard time - don't always compare yourself to others

  • Focus on the things you can do rather than what you can't do - think about all those times you have been successful.

  • Start talking to yourself in a positive way - this is called positive self-talk. You can do this by telling yourself a positive statement everyday. For example you may tell yourself how well you achieved something during the day or you may just simply tell yourself that you are OK or you believe today, things will be OK, no matter what happens.

  • Set yourself some realistic goals. Start by setting small goals and gradually work up to bigger things. For example you may want to learn to play the guitar so you can aim to learn a new chord each week.

  • Learn a new skill.

  • Compliment someone on how they look or on something they have done well - it is amazing how good you can feel when you make someone else feel good!

  • See mistakes as an opportunity to learn

  • Think about other people rather than yourself. Caring about others is a great way to forget feeling sad about yourself

  • Focus on relationships that are positive and important to you.

  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling.

  • Do some exercise or an activity you enjoy.

  • Make a list of all the things that make you happy!

Body Image

Body image is the term used to describe the way people think they look. It's how people feel about their body size and shape.

Even though it is a fact that people come in all shapes and sizes, people may have unrealistic ideas about their bodies and think they are too fat, too thin, too tall or too short etc. Most people want to be accepted by others, and that includes being accepted for the way they look.

This may be more of an issue for you at puberty when your body is changing a lot. For example, perhaps you are going through puberty later than your friends and feel different from everyone else.

People are constantly getting messages about how they should look and what sort of a person they should be. These messages may come from parents, friends, teachers, movies, television and magazines. It can be pretty exhausting and disheartening trying to live up to these expectations.

Some people begin to feel depressed about the way they look, and in some cases develop eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Try to think about the pressures you are feeling to look or dress a certain way. Where is the pressure coming from? Is it from family or friends or the media? Remember most of the images in the media are there to sell you something, so they use models that make the products (such as clothes, shoes, shampoo etc.) look as good as possible.

How many REAL people do you know who look like the models in magazines or on television? Also remember that the media use all sorts of tricks such to make the models look thinner and taller than they actually are.

If there is a particular part of your body you don't like, it's OK to acknowledge that you are not happy with it. If it is something you can't change, try and accept it as part of what makes you the unique person you are. Then focus on the parts of your body you do like.

Remember that while it may be important to look good, it is much more important to feel good.