Develop self-confidence in your teenager: It is estimated that up to half of teenagers will have low confidence levels in early teenage years.
Aggressive responses, ignoring parents or their instructions, banging and screaming at doors are all signs that a child has entered this rather challenging phase of life.
- Difference between self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence
- 15 ways parents can help building self-confidence in your teenager
- Note to Parents
Self-confidence is not acquired at birth. It is built by the bonds which are woven with the others and by the experiences which one will live.
To have self-confidence is to have integrated the idea that “I am unique and, as such, I have value” and that “I am capable” (I have skills; I can bring things to others).
Family attitudes are the most important factor in the formation of self-confidence in your teenager.
Self-confident teens are more successful, more friends, and better control their own lives.
10 Reasons why some teens lack self-confidence.
Below are the reasons why teenagers might lack self-confidence.
You might want to know it so you can understand all the factors that can contribute to having a low self-confidence.
Also, confidence levels need not be a straight line. In time and basic situation and life experience one’s confidence level varies.
So, it is always good to know the reasons so that you can go the needed interventions.
- Blame it on the genes. Studies show that our genetic markup influences the quantity of confidence boosting chemical our brain can access.
- Parenting styles play a huge part. If you are an authoritarian type of parent. Who is cold and unaccepting? It can impact your child’s confidence.
- Family environment – If your kids grow in an environment that always criticizes, unforgiving, has high expectations standers etc.
- Traumatic experiences such as any type of abuse. Be it physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. Can shatter one’s confidence.
- If teen is victim of bullying, harassment, and peer pressures.
- Victims of discrimination and Gender stereotyping, race, sex color etc.
- High societal expectations or models to follow. E.g. To be very fair, very thin, very cool etc…
- Life experiences and past failures.
- Ones own attitude and outlook. E.g. If your teen feels that he is not good enough because he cannot do a job to perfection.
- Other mental issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, Addiction, need for social validation etc.
15 Things to teach your teen characteristics of a confident person
Teach your teen the characteristics of a confident person.
When you tell them the characteristics of a confident person they will have some things to model upon. And will strive to be one.
- Confident people feel as worthy as others.
- They do not have self-doubt or fear.
- They grab opportunities when they see and do not hesitate.
- Confident people do not wait for opportunities to present themselves. They take actions and move forward.
- A confident person makes incremental and continuous changes to build themselves up.
- They strive for self-improvement and are open to feedback.
- They take criticism with a positive attitude and do not get defensive.
- Confident people do not worry much on what or how others perceive them. Their self-worth is not defined by them. They also do not fall for marketing gimmicks meant to put you down to sell their product.
- A confident person embraces challenges and face it head on. And work to successfully overcome it.
- They volunteer to try on new productive things. Experiment and not worry about failure.
- They are not afraid of failure. They don’t give up. They try to learn from their mistakes and use it as steppingstone to move forward.
- Confident person does not feel less of themselves if they compromise for the larger good. They are not self-absorbed and are open to listen to other people’s view.
- A confident person understands the situation and the risks involved. And do not indulge in them to prove a point.
- They set their own goals and work towards achieving it.
- They have a positive and progressive mindset.
15 ways parents can help building self-confidence in your teenager
Teens need help from their families in finding areas where they can be successful. It is necessary to trust their preferences and support them wherever possible.
While encouraging them to defend their own thoughts, you can clearly state the behaviors you do not like.
There are following steps that help the parents to build confidence in teens:
Have channels of communication active
To better understand and deal with the unstable phase of a teenager’s life, you should be able to communicate with him or her as openly and effectively as possible.
Try to listen and convey a sense of calm as the teenager opens to you and make it clear to her that she can always trust and turn to her parents.
The key would be to make the teen feel confident and safe when talking to their parents; this way, it is also easier for the teen to turn to you in difficult situations where parental support and security is more than necessary.
Help him build on his failures
Show your teen how to learn from their failures. Explain that mistakes allow us all to move forward.
You can give them an example about yourself that allowed you to forge yourself.
Share with your teen inspirational quotes such as that from the carmaker Henri Ford’s phrase, “Failure is only an opportunity to start over in a smarter way.”
Let your teen to know that they do not and cannot be perfect all the time. Its ok to loosen up a bit.
I had this problem with my 2nd son. He will beat himself to knots if he feels he is not up to the imaginary mark he has set for himself.
It did talk me lot of pep talks and quote some time for me to come down to the acceptance that he can chill and need not be on top all the time. Nobody is.
But what matters is to feel good about your qualities and your faults and to assume your responsibilities.
Praise all efforts not just when it yields an outcome.
The many times that I have noticed in my children That they have put in their effort in school activity. They participate with full rigor. But not every time the result was a trophy.
I used to be a parent who would encourage her children in all their efforts but mainly where when they came home with the trophy. While I would see my teen put in efforts and if it did not yield a result. I would simply drop the subject and move on.
However, in my quest to try to help my son to build self-confidence. Is when I have learnt that it is more important to encourage our children and be proud of their efforts and not just when they get a trophy.
Personally, I can vouch that when I shifted my attention from appreciating and praising and boasting about my teenager only when they got a trophy. To celebrating all their efforts. Working with them the challenges that they faced. Understating the reason for failure and having solution of how to overcome them.
Gave much better results in motivating the teenager to be resilient, a go getter and the needed self-confident to face the challenge all over again.
Move forward… Be progressive
Ensure that you do not keep dwelling in the past but moving forward as a family.
Sometimes your teenager due to lack of experience might find themselves being knotted in situations and struggling to understand how to move forward with it.
Reach out to your teen and help them with their issues. Do not keep referring or quoting their failures in future. But however, give them indications and point them at the right direction. So, that they can take your cues and move forward.
When the outlook is overall forward looking and progressive invariably your teen at some point and time will start building the needed self-confidence to move forward.
Trust your teen
Trusting that the teenagers will develop, maturity and consideration will come little by little, if we wait.
Trust some mutual thing. The parent needs to trust their children as much as the child needs to trust the parent.
My son would always complain about his aunt that they do not trust him.
While I know for sure my sister had nothing but good intentions and the best interest of my son in her heart. But unfortunately, my son perceived it received it as lack of trust.
And the issue looked to be that of cost but the translation of it in my teenager’s head was he was not good enough and hence people did not trust him.
The young person must also be able to trust their parents. The important thing is to never break off the dialogue.
The art of being a parent is to accompany your child by taking an interest in their life, without being too intrusive. As always, it is all about balance.
Share your time with a teenager
Even if your relationship with your teen is problematic, try to dedicate more time to her.
Allocating time for your teen, sharing moments with your child both strengthens the parent-child relationship and teaches that the teen can trust you even in problematic situations.
My elder one got to a stage where communication between him and I almost broke. When I realised the situation, I was in. I made it a habit to be available (just sit in the hall) at 7 PM (when my teen returns home). Initially he ignored and ran to his room and would come down later for dinner.
But slowly in few months’ time I got a break though. He came and sat in a chair in the hall instead of running to his room. Asked me a small advice. He quickly got the essence of it and ran off upstairs.
But that was a turning point from which he started spending more time in the hall with me and we spoke.
Developed decision-making skills in teenager:
We all took time before we developed good decision-making skills. With experience they become better and well though through.
The decisions we take in our thirties, are better than the ones we take in our twenties.
Similarly, you need to understand that it is the same evolving process for your teen.
Even if you know that your teen’s current friends are not the best once to influence your teen. Your own child may not understand.
A teenager must also go through this step before there is better judgment.
So as parents we point to the directions that we like our teen to explore. And then give them time and space to make their own decisions.
Give them reassurance when they are in doubt. And nudge them forward to act. Even if it is a delicate one such as moving from a toxic relationship etc.
All this effort from your side will improve your teenager’s decision-making skills. The more your teens decisions turn out to be sound the more self-confidence in your teenager will develop.
Listen and give value to your teens:
Listen to your teen. I cannot tell you how much information and insight you get about the working of your teen brain. Just by quietly listening to your teen ramble.
When you find that they are passing an opinionated statement. Probe further. Ask them why they feel so and why they are telling so.
When they are rationalising their decision and if you find that there is merit in it appreciate and tell them the same.
If you find on the other hand that it is completely irrational how they are concluding a certain outcome. Gently put your point forward to your teen.
If your teen re-battles or refuses to accept. Do not overrule or impose unless it is danger to their health and safety or that of others.
Always agree to disagree. Value their opinion and keep lines of communication open.
This way you will slowly build self-confidence in your teenager as they engage in more creative discussions with you and feel like a valuable contributor.
Keep things short
Teenagers often avoid talking about crushes, friends, alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants. Main reason is because of the objection parents make and started giving an hour-long sermon.
Be as brief as possible and ask your teen for their opinion.
E.g.: You can ask you a simple question like “Are you seeing someone?”. Most of the time a true teenager would answer in monosyllable or Yes/No.
The best thing as a parent we can do is to just say okay and leave the topic.
I know we would be more curious to know who, what, how, when etc. If the answer is Yes.
But if you need answers to all these questions the best way to get this answer this by not asking this question.
A simple okay and dropping the subject is good enough. And in my experience, I have seen that in time they will come around and answer all these questions on their own in their time.
Do not paralyze under group pressure
Why are you like this? My friend’s parents are letting my friends have their own phone. My friends can stay out all night. Why am I not allowed to ride a bike to school when friends use without licence?
Please re battle sounding familiar to you. Most of the time your teenager would play this card to paralyse you under group pressure.
When a teenager tells you that even his friends can do something and you as parent is ok in agreement.
Do not give in. Instead, you can tell that you have different rules and you are happy to discuss them as to why you have the rules.
It helps in making rules clear and transparent and most important consistent.
Once your teen is clear on the rules and knows his boundaries. Your teen will be able to navigate a situation better knowing your decision on it.
And move from a situation where they give a commitment and not honor it and lose face in front of their friends.
Do not lie about your own failures and experiments as a teen
Did you get caught up in your own mistakes you made during adolescence?
Do not lie and belittle your own blunders or say it is not someone else’s business if your kid asks you.
Instead, you can tell what kind of things you learn from what you did.
Esp. In matters that are bit sensitive like drug and alcohol. What kind of things do you learn about friends or intoxicants, for example?
While we are in the topic of drugs as parents of teen, I urge you to read our informative article Drugs. It is a good idea to discuss alcohol and other drugs and their effects openly.
Develop healthy communication:
Develop healthy communication with your teens is very important.
Open communication is more important than ever. If your adolescent finds that he can speak to you. Knows that you will listen to him.
Believes that you will consider his points of view, it is very likely that you are maintaining a healthy relationship with your teenager.
If you encourage open and honest conversation, your teen will be more likely to come to you to talk about important things.
Things such as relationships, school, sexuality, and drugs. Rather than turning to friends or talking to each other. These can develop self-confidence in your teenager.
Open communication helps and reduces anxiety in your teenager.
To know more about anxiety do read our article anxiety.
Always offer to help your teen whenever they are reaching out to you. Or you find that they are stuck at a point or facing a challenge.
Do not reject your teen’s feelings:
Treat your adolescent with respect and do not reject his feelings or opinions.
Find ways to discuss and agree on your disagreements without judgment.
Keep an open mind when discussing his point of view. Active listening will help them feel important and know that you are taking their concerns seriously, and it will strengthen your relationship.
Constant rejection from your side can make your teen feel unloved and feeling like no one is there to care for them. Can lead to depression and in severe cases suicidal tendencies in your teenager.
To know if your teen has such problems do read our article Suicidal.
Consider your teenager’s knowledge and benefit from his knowledge.
Do not Name call, have nick names, or Criticize
They should know that they do not criticize every behavior, do not wear nicknames they are disturbed, they will be negatively affected by them.
My elder son would often address my second son as ‘fatty’. While such nickname was always used, and my younger son would respond to it.
It was only around the age of 9 years and above that I saw the damage that I had permitted unknowingly to be caused on my second son.
Today do my younger son while in no ways considered to be fat even by normal BMI calculations. My son keeps seeking reassurance that he is not fat.
So, something as seemingly innocent comment or nick name became a serious issue in my teenager’s life.
When you teenager feels secure in the love that they receive. When the teenager knows that the love that is showered upon them unconditional.
When they feel secured that they will be loved for just being themselves and not based on any outcome. Outcome such as good grades in school or outstanding performance in sports or any other things that would make you proud.
When they feel confident of your love no matter how the days are. Be it high or low good or bad. If they are confident in knowing that your love would always be there. They build more self-confidence and can be better equipped to face the world.
Note: When I say unconditional love, it is not a sign of weakness. As in blind love even when your teen is misbehaving or stepping out of the line.
In such instant appropriate reprimanding should be done but the overall package should be that which is wrapped with love.
One of the major reasons for depression is the feeling that nobody cares. Know more on this silent issue that is in the raise these days among our teenagers. From our article depression.
The immediate next steps to take..
Below I have outlined the immediate next 7 steps you can take to start your journey in building self confidence in your teen.
Work with your teen and plan it to move forward…
- Help your teen to stop judging themselves based on what others think of them. You highlight their unique-ness and their abilities and make them believe in it.
- Help them to let go of past mistakes. Teach them to forgive and move one. Explain to them that it is for their own peace and development they have to leave the baggage down and proceed.
- Help them to be assertive. Look at the problem they are not confident about as a challenge to overcome. Bring about a positive perspective to the problem in hand.
- Work with them and set goals and actionable to face and overcome the challenge. And have a plan to help them improve their potential and skill to meet the requirement of the challenge.
- Take baby steps and move forward. Be consistent and do not give up. Teach your teen to focus on what is on their control and play to their strengths rather than getting paralysed with things beyond their control
- Encourage them along the way. Shower love and support.
- Recall and praise milestone achievements, efforts and victory. It will work as a positive feedback loop and trigger more confidence in your teenager.
Note to Parents
Introduce your teen to charity
During teenage, a young person’s worries revolve around his or her own life. Teenagers often stress about everyday things, making it difficult for them to see how well things really are.
By introducing your teen to local charity, you can make your child feel more empathy for the people around you as well, making the teen understand that the world is not just about her problems.
Make the home a serene place for a teenager as well
A serene home makes a teenager feel comfortable, allowing him or her to start spending more time at home.
This can also help with family-centered communication, as it is easier for a teenager spending time at home to turn to their parents in situations that make him or her feel uncomfortable.
Remember that open communication with a teenager is a key factor in solving problems that weigh on your child’s mind.
Help your teen develop new skills
Find out activities that your teenager is passionate about and make them participate in learning these skills.
This will help them channel is their energies in a positive way with better outcomes.
The more skilful the teenager is the more confident the teenager is on their abilities and it will manifest in self-confidence in your teenager and outlook to life.
Be a role model to your teen. And be the family that will always love care and never give up on each other.
No matter what the situation be or what life throws at the family. Create a family that will face all situations with a positive outlook.
And together as a single unit will combat and come out successfully without giving up on any of the members of the family.
Search surety and security will boost self confidence in your teenager. And your teen will blossom to be a very positive outlooked confident adult.
I like to make a disclaimer here. I am not a nutritionist or a medical practitioner and more about me, my qualification and experience or that of my team you can read in About Us page.
However, I am a mother growing 3 kids. Am a concerned parent.
I like to share my knowledge with the hope that it will be help to someone somewhere and make a difference to a very worried parent.
I have written this article, basis my experience, my talk with experts in this line and research on this topic. Also, I have implemented it in my life with my kids.
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Nothing contained in this site is or should be considered or used as a substitute for any medical or professional advice.
It should not also be a substitute for mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
If you are feeling concerned and worried about your kid. Your instinct tells you to be concerned.
As a parent to parent. I would say trust your instinct. No one knows better than you as a parent to your child. It is best to reach out to a qualified practitioner to address your concern.
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