How-To Build Hope in your Teenager.

How-To Build Hope in your Teenager.

Build Hope in your Teenager: What makes up get up in the morning, look forward to. What makes us do things that we do… they call stem from a simple yet very powerful word. HOPE.

Why would you do something if you do not have hope. If you think that it will mean nothing, or it is hopeless. No one would. So, it is comfortable to say that “If anything gets accomplished in life then it is because of hope”.

As parents we need to build hope in your teenager. In Christianity we say that hope is one of the three things that last.

Hope makes us stable. It gives us courage to face life and joy to endure and overcome it. It is the dreams that feeds up. It is hope which makes us get past through tough times. No wonder we need hope to survive.

And one of the main reason people commit suicide is because they have lost hope.

I cannot say that I am a concerned parent. And the purpose of my blog is to ease the pain of one worried parent. If I do not spend time addressing the topic of “Hope”. And how to build hope in your teenager. 

Topics Covered in This Blog

  • What is hope
  • Difference between Hope and Optimism
  • Myths about hope
  • 12 Types of hope
  • 15 Benefits of Hope to your teenager
  • 5 Steps – Process of Hope
  • Tools to measure hope
  • How to build hope in Your teenager
  • Caution to Parents
  • Conclusion

What is hope

As per late Professor C. R. Synder, one of the pioneers in the field of positive psychology. Who is also best known for his work on Hope and Forgiveness?

He states that in his “theory of hope” as … Hope is defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways.

The biggest threat to hope is ones own past bad experiences or their own emotions.

When the individual feels things have moved beyond their hand and they start feeling hopeless.

When people with high hope face these threats, they look at it as a challenge to overcome rather than a barrier to concede defeat.

Difference between Hope and Optimism

The key ingredients of having a positive mental attitude is Hope and optimism.

So, lets also spend some time understanding these two words.

Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Optimism: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. A tendency to take favorable or hopeful view.

They are not one and the same. They are also not mutually exclusive.  E.g. “I hope she recovers. But not very optimistic about it.”.

Hope is an emotion. It is an active process where on has hope and follows a process to achieve the goal.

However, when you are optimistic you have better degree of certainty of the outcome or the situation, or stronger belief for an outcome you desire. 

Unlike optimistic approach hope does not rely on others or luck but on effort to achieve outcome.

If you like to know more. Read this article from Psychology Today:

Some Myths about Hope

Know about few myths about Hope so that you will be clear when you try to build hope in your teenager.

  1. Hope is Not a Gamble

Gamble is based on pure luck. You win or you lose. Hope is not a gamble. One can have hope when they have lost also. Or face ill luck.

  • Hope is not Wishful thinking

This means hope is not wishful thinking. When we wish we are ambiguous? We wish when we know there is very less chance of the outcome to arrive. It is passive just a thought. Hope is a commitment to seek the future outcome.

  • Hope is not Optimism

It can come as a surprise to you. It did for me. Hope and optimism are not highly related. ( The main deference is that an optimistic person can feel that “Somehow” (Luck, miracles, others help, or own effort). Their desired outcome will be achieved. However, a person with hope that their own effort and plan will help them achieve the desired outcome.

  • Hope is not Want

Want is a desire which is a strong feeling with no plan. Just a need. Something that we wish to happen. Hope is more active and constructive.

12 Types of Hope

There are many types of hope. They are different variations to it. I have outlined few of them…

Living / Inborn Hope – This is the basic living hope that you are born with. The hope that you will wake up tomorrow. Hope that everything will go as per plan. Etc… (You set your alarm clock or fix a meeting in future because of this type of hope).

You see children tell you things like “When I grow big. I will be…” Due to this hope.

Abundant Hope: Where you feel there is always joy and hope in this world and all around you. Blessings are always around the corner and there is glorious future that awaits.

Reliable Hope: That things will work out and we will never be put to shame. You will always be blessed and come out victoriously.

Borrowed Hope – You get hope to face a situation because someone believes that you can do it. You get the confidence from them. You start looking at things from how they see you to be. And start believing in yourself and your abilities.

Bargainer’s Hope – This is more of a batter system of sorts. Where you almost bribe the creator or the person who can influence your situation. You try to get your desired output based on what you have committed to give in return.

The other way around is based on certain beliefs that you have.

Example if you have a belief system that if you help underprivileged children with educations then your child will automatically do well in educations.

Sure Hope: This is based on experience. And how they turned out to become. For example: I had lost my job in the past, but I got again. So, I have hope I will get one tis time too…

Unrealistic Hope – This is having a grandeur opinion about how things will turn out to be. The feeling that they are set to conquer the world and be the best.

Teenagers tend to harbour such unrealistic hope at times. There is nothing wrong with this if they put the needed effort and try to achieve it.

Just having the hope with no plan or effort it is only wishful thinking.

Example you want to be the best cricketer in this world.

Desperate or “Hope against Hope” Hope: This is the type of hope that you have when you feel hopeless. When all is lost. They you have nothing but Hope left.

False Hope – As the name suggested it is no hope at all.  A lot of marketing gimmicks provide a false sense of hope.

Some examples are: The common WhatsApp messages we get… that states send to 10 people so blessing will come upon you. Or If they use deo spray, they will automatically have many girlfriends.

Spiritual hope: One that is based on god’s love, mercy, blessing, grace etc… Hope in Gods words or promises. Hope based out of faith.

Mature Hope – This is where one hopes, plans, puts in efforts, and waits. They have a meaning and purpose to what they are doing and do it to be true to the purpose.

Immovable or firm Hope: The strong belief that the desired outcome is sure to happen. No matter what the situation, circumstance or the facts tell. It is an unswerving, unyielding hope. We can see such hope in persons who we feel has all hope lost situation. (Battling cancer, Career wreck etc…)

Some of the topics you might be interested to read are…

  1. Face challenges
  2. Stress
  3. Mental wellbeing

15 Benefits of Hope in your teenager

When you get to know the the Benefits of Hope in your teenager

You will automatically know why you need to build hope in your teenager.

Below I have outlined 12 important benefits of hope to your teenager.

When one has hope they can

  1. Endure any type of adversity.
  2. Improves resilience in your teenager.
  3. Can positively Face challenging life events.
  4. They can have an optimistic outlook of future irrespective of the circumstances.
  5. Hope improves Performance (Academic or Sports)
  6. It enhances over all mental well-being of your teen.
  7. It is also found that people with high hope have positive outlook which helps them to be physically healthy also.
  8. Protects teens from anxiousness, depression.
  9. Hope is crucial to prevent suicidal tendencies.
  10. Changes the attitude of your teen (They start looking at stressful situation as a challenge)
  11. Hope empowers, encourages, and motivates teen to act and move forward.
  12. Helps teen to be positively involved in life.
  13. Improves overall life satisfaction.
  14. They have positive outlook of self, world, and future.
  15. Hope helps your teenager to achieve their goals.

Some of the topics you might be interested to read are…

  1. Depression
  2. Suicide
  3. Anxiety

The process of hope

A person with hope understands that odd or luck may or may not be in their favor. Their current situation holds no relevance to the hope they have. They have a desire to overcome and meet their goal.

So, they follow the following process that will make them well set to achieve their desire.

Step 1: They sets a goal for themselves.

Step 2: They start having or developing specific strategies to reach the goals they have set.

Step 3: They self-motivate and cultivate the ability to find and maintain the motivation to pursue their strategies.

Step 4: They work out strategies to move away from negative thoughts, so hopelessness does not set in.

Step 5: Basis learning, feedback and experience they tweak their course of action and move forward towards their goal.

So, when they do all this, they become more and more hopeful to meet their goals. And they build resilience and not stop till their hope becomes reality.

In technical terms it is Snyder, Irving & Anderson hope theory. (Goals Thinking, Pathways Thinking, Agency Thinking, barriers)

You might be interested to read about the topic’s poor academics and career choices. As they are related to this process outlined above.

Tools to measure Hope

There are many tools to measure hope some are listed below.

  • The Adult Hope Scale (AHS)
  • ·      The State Hope Scale (SHS)
  • ·      The Herth Hope Index (HHI)
  • ·      The Children’s Hope Scale (CHS; Snyder et al., 1997)
  • The Herth Hope Scale (HHS; Herth, 1991)
  • The Miller Hope Scale (MHS; Miller, 1988)

·      The Adult Dispositional Hope Scale

·      The Adult Domain Specific Hope Scale

If you like to know more… you can read more about them in the below mentioned links. and

10 ways to build hope in your teenager

Conceptualise clear goals

To build hope in your teenager you will have to work with your teenager to set goals. It can be anything. Right from career choices to a sports achievement.

Do not impose your goals on them. Make them set clear goals for themselves. That ways they own their goals and work towards achieving them.

Once they have set their goals work with them and help them break these goals from macro perspective to micro level sub goals.

These sub goals act as a milestone for your teenager. It helps them not get overwhelmed. And to achieve one step at a time and ultimately reach their destination which is the final goal.

Visualise (Hopeful imagination)

Can visualise the goal. Let them feel how it would be to achieve their goal. What they would do when they achieve their goal and how they will benefit by achieving the goal.

Help them to visualise by talking to you about it. Ask them hypothetical questions so that they can visualise more clearer and better hey.

It can even be questions like when you become a famous cricketer will I have to go through your security guard to meet you?

Such questions will not only help your teenager visualise things in a much detail way. It will also tell them that you believe in their goal as much as they do.

And by this ‘borrowed hope’ starts playing along with their own hope that they have in their abilities. This will build hope in your teenager.

Explore strategies to attain the goals

Work with your teenager to explore different strategies or ways by which they can achieve their goals. Brainstorm with them or discuss with them to come up with multiple ideas. This will help build hope in your teenager.

Example if your child has a goal to become an engineer. Talk to them about the different ways they can achieve this. Ways such as.

  1. They can go for some classes.
  2. They can spend an hour everyday concentrating on the subjects that come for the entrance exam.
  3. They can do some combine studies with friends who have similar goals.
  4. They can solve previous years question papers of the entrance exam.
  5. They can do projects that they can show case during the interview.

Etc… Etc…

Come up with a plan together and have a schedule or timetable made. So that it gets incorporated in your teen’s day to day life…

Do spend some time to read our article smart teen.

Learning from past failures and change future course.

Help your teen to make references to past failures that they have had.

Make them look at these failures as steppingstone for future success.

Talk in discuss with them so that they can see the mistakes. The ones that they have committed, and they are able to learn from it.

When you teenager learns from their mistakes, they immediately become wise. They will then change the future course of action. By doing this they have a better chance for success. And you can build hope in your teenager

Meet obstacles as a challenge

When you meet obstacles along the way one has 2 options. You can give up or you can pursue. When kids have high hope. They will look at obstacle as a change to be faced and overcomes and not as a barrier or a brick wall that is made to give up their goals.

Keep showing these options to your teen. Make them look at the obstacles as challenge to overcome. This will build hope in your teenager.

Motivate them to keep trying. This will not one help your teen to move forward to meet their goal. It will also start building resilience in your teenager.

This also hugely depends on the persons self-esteem. Do read our article on self esteem to know more.  

Bring about positive perspective

This point is somewhere related to the past about 2 points. When a teenager meets a challenge or when a teenager has faced with failure in the past.

Teach them how to look at it with the positive perspective. Teach them to ask questions such as…

  1. What is this failure trying to teach me?
  2. How can I move past this obstacle?

When your teenager starts learning to look at failures in a positive perspective then there is nothing called failure in your teenager’s life. They all become learning experiences and it only take them closer and closer to success.

Keep practicing this at home. Make a conscious decision to make your teen look at the positive perspective. Ask them to talk you about it.

Reward them when they can look at it in a positive way. Talk proudly about this when your teen does it. Because it is an achievement by itself. And it also helps build hope in your teenager.

Positive self-talking

I have seen my elder son do this a lot. He keeps telling himself that he can do it. It is possible. He is going to do this. Etc…

And I have also been amazed at how many times the words that he has uttered to himself has come true

Positive self-talk is a way to short circuit your brain to believe in the outcome you desire. It is also an effective way to drown out the negative voice in you hear or that what others bring in.

Motivate your teen when they have doubts

Everyone is human. Emotions do run wild. Failures are certainties of life. And all these can one way or the other play number on your brain. They can become barriers that demotivate you teem from proceeding further.

Sometimes when the best of efforts fail it can really be painful. It can even cost and aversion towards achieving the goal. These are exactly the times when parents need to step in so that your teen can borrow confidence and hope from you and move forward.

Help them with a good break if you must. And motivate them start again. Tell them you still believe in their abilities and you have no doubts that they will achieve what they set out to.

Tell stories of success

Tell you team good old stories of success. These days you have enough and more motivational videos out there to inspire Your team.

You can quote your own examples be success or failure and show your team the valuable lessons that you have learnt. Or give them examples of how you succeeded.

Encourage them to read books and biographies that works wonders and create a good impression on the young brain.

Motivational quotes or sayings or wisdom for the day are also good way to start the day. All this effort will build hope in your teenager.

Have supportive set of people around you

I have felt that there are times that you as a parent might be as involved into your teenagers’ goal or and vision. That some setbacks of failures that happened along the way can even demotivate you.

In such situation it is always better when you have the rest of your family or supportive set of people around you to help. They can speak wisdom and knowledge to your ears. So that you and you teem can pick things up and move on. And face the challenge that has come in your way.

Trusted and supportive set of people can also work as an extra pair of eyes. Who can watch and call out the mistakes that has been committed and help you course correct better?

This is where strong family relations pay a vital part. Get to know more from our article family relations.

Bonus Tip…

Place your Trust on God

For families with spiritual inclination it is also beneficial to teach teen to have faith. To place the trust in God and do their best.

Faith in your creator will lessen the burden you carry since you feel you have the All Mighty with you and by your side.

Encourage your teen to pray or meditate about their goals and plans. If possible, have family prayers where all members of the family pray for your teen’s goals. This positively impact your teen.

Caution to Parents…

While now you will be fairly convinced that you would need to build hope in your teenager.

It is also important for me to highlight some of the things that you need to watch out for.

Be very weary of false hope or unrealistic hope. The outcome of having this type of hope either leads to feeling dejected or depressed because they were false in the first place. Or feeling burnt out, worn out or overwhelmed because the hope that your teenager can carry is unrealistic.

Also, this can lead to unwise decisions and a series of failures if the hopes of your teen falls in these categories.

To know more about teen related challenges, you can browse through our exhaustive list of articles. Follow the link -> Parenting challenges faced while raising teenagers.


Hope is more than just a desire or a want or a wish. It is action-oriented strength that comes from within. With hope your teenager will be motivated to pursue their goals.

Yes, hope comes and goes. And motivation levels can fluctuate. But with help from your side. With patience, perseverance, and practice.

When you build hope in your teenager. This hope gives your teen powerful shot of motivation. Drives them to find new ways to achieve their goals. And push them forward towards achievement. And you can stand tall and proud applauding them…

God Bless!

Hope this article was of use to you. If yes pls show love by sharing with your friends and loved ones.

Let us know if you believe that you need to build hope in your teenager. Leave your comments below…

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