All teenagers can have wobbles with confidence. The teenage years can be a difficult time, with a lot of big life decisions to make about colleges, difficult studies, and a lot of body changes. Teenagers can also struggle with friendships, meaning they will need your help, as well as their friends, in times when their confidence is low. Here’s how you can help.
Balance Self-Acceptance With Self Improvement
It’s important to raise teenagers with a sense of ambition, and to help them work to be better people. However, it’s also important not to push them too hard and to remind them that sometimes they just have to accept themselves.
For example, if your child comes home upset because they can’t understand their Science homework, don’t let them label themselves a failure. Instead, remind them that not everyone can be good at everything, and help them find where their talents lie. Maybe they’re more creative than gifted at sports, or more academic than they are creative. For the areas where they struggle, come up with an action plan together to improve, such as helping with their homework, finding a tutor or working with a friend who has a better grasp of the subject than them.
If their confidence troubles are more physical, help them come to self-acceptance and an understanding that everybody has similar worries. If they really can’t, find a practical solution together, like discussing a healthy approach to diet and fitness, learning some new makeup techniques to disguise acne, or watching nose surgery videos to decide if a surgical solution is the answer.
Praise Their Efforts, Not The Outcome
With schoolwork, teenagers can feel very pressured to perform well. To help, remember to reward the effort they put in, not the results they get. If you know they’ve put in a lot of hours studying hard for an exam, praise the work they did, regardless of whether they get a good grade or not. The same rules go for other activities. If they’ve done well in a sports game, praise them by telling them you can see how well their training has paid off, not pointing out how many points they scored. Rewarding hard work can also help them to become more accountable.
Encourage Them To Try New Things
Trying out new things can be a great way for teenagers to challenge themselves and find new talents. Doing this can really help to build confidence. Whether they join a club, start learning an instrument, join a sports team, try some volunteer work or get a part-time job. Mastering a new skill is a real confidence boost and can help a teen to feel better about themselves.
Lead By Example
Your teenage children learn a lot of their attitude towards confidence from you. They will learn a lot more from your actions and the behavior that you model than they will from you tell them. Try to watch your behaviour around them; don’t speak critically about your own abilities or your body in front of them.
Instead, model a positive attitude to new situations. Face them with courage and confidence and be positive about yourself. By setting a good example, you can encourage confidence and bravery.
Build Self-Worth In A Healthy Way
Self-worth can be complicated for teenagers. They may find that they only really good about themselves when they get a lot of likes on social media, or when they fit into a smaller size of clothes. Confidence from these things is shallow and fleeting, and won’t help them to feel good about themselves in the long run.
Try to help them to build a stable, healthy foundation for confidence in themselves. You can encourage this in the way you praise them. Congratulate them for things like hard work, academic success, doing kind things for friends and other things that they can control. Try not to only compliment them on looking pretty or thin, especially your teenage daughters.
By teaching them to value things about themselves that they have worked for, then you can help them to build a confidence that they can keep up in the future. They can learn to value the best parts of themselves, instead of getting value from social media or being seen as attractive.
By helping your teenagers to feel good about themselves in a way that is healthy, you can help them grow into confident, happy adults with self-worth based on a solid foundation of acceptance, improvement and success.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.