No matter what age or gender, your self-confidence can take a battering in the teen years. While the emphasis is often on girls’ self-esteem, boys need to be confident, too, and often struggle just as much (although perhaps in different areas). Here are some tips to help you build your teen’s self-confidence. Kids who seemed confident throughout childhood may struggle to maintain self-assurance during the teen years. For many, adolescence is a time filled with self-doubt, a questionable body image, and insecurity.
The good news is, you can take steps to help your teen build self-esteem, which will benefit your teen in a number of ways. Teens who have confidence are better prepared to handle peer pressure, navigate challenging dating relationships, make good decisions, and recover from setbacks. Here are eight strategies that will instil life-long confidence in your teen.
Teens who struggle to master a skill may conclude they’re complete failures. For instance, a teen who has difficulty with maths may decide they’re not smart. Or a teen who rarely gets to play on the soccer team may decide they’ll never be good at sports. There is a healthy balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement. Show your teen that it’s possible to accept flaws while also striving to become better. Rather than label themselves as “stupid,” help your teen see that while they’re struggling academically, they can still strive to become better. Always remember that the Euka staff are here to help If you feel your teen would benefit from some revision or to move the level of a students work. We are here to work out an education plan that sets them up to thrive. To promote self-improvement in your teen, help them identify their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Then engage them in goal setting and problem solving so they can work toward improving in areas where they struggle. Make sure the goals they set are attainable and within their control and then map out a plan on how they are going to achieve those goals.
Praise Effort Instead of Outcome
Rather than praise your teen for getting a good grade on an exam, praise them for all the studying they did. Instead of saying, “Great job scoring those five points in the game,” say, “All that practicing you’ve been doing has been paying off.” Show them that it’s important to try hard and it’s OK if they don’t succeed all the time. Your teen can control their effort but they can’t always control the outcome. It’s important to acknowledge their energy and effort so they don’t think they are only worthy of praise when they succeed.
Teach Assertiveness Skills
Teens need to know how to speak up for themselves in an appropriate manner. An assertive teen will be able to ask for help when they don’t understand their Euka school work, rather than allow themselves to fall behind.
A teen who can speak up also is less likely to be treated poorly by peers. They’ll speak up for themselves when they don’t like how they’re being treated, and they’ll be able to ask for what they need in a direct manner. To teach your teen to be assertive, begin by talking about the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Let them know that being assertive means standing up for themselves using a strong and confident voice without being rude or yelling at other people. Other ways to impart assertiveness skills include allowing them to make choices and reinforcing that they have rights—especially the right to say no to anything that makes them uncomfortable. Give them ample opportunities to practice their assertiveness skills at home by offering them choices and allowing them the freedom to say no to things they don’t want to do.
Encourage New Opportunities
Trying new activities, discovering hidden talents, and challenging themselves can help grow teens’ confidence. But many teens are afraid of failure and don’t want to embarrass themselves. Encourage your teen to join a new club, play a musical instrument, engage in volunteer work, or find a part-time job. Mastering new skills will help them feel better about themselves. Plus, belonging to a group not only provides them with friendship opportunities, but it also can help them feel more secure and confident. Many Euka teens find part-time work empowering and it can be fit in around their lessons.
Your teen will learn the most about confidence based on what you do—not what you say. If you’re guilty of making critical statements about your body or your abilities, you’ll teach your child to do the same. Role model how to face new situations with courage and confidence and demonstrate the importance of loving yourself. Talk to your teen about times when you’ve been brave or things you’ve done in your life to help build your confidence.
If your teen only feels good when they get a certain amount of likes on social media or when they fit into a certain size pants, they’ll struggle to maintain confidence when situations don’t suit their needs. Basing self-worth on superficial things, external circumstances, or other people leads to a lack of confidence in the long run. Help your teen build a healthy and stable foundation for self-worth. Emphasise your values and teach that true self-worth is about living according to those values. Help them see that it’s more important to be kind and caring rather than thin or attractive.
Balance Freedom with Guidance
Micromanaging your teen’s choices will only reinforce that they can’t be trusted to make good decisions independently. It’s important to balance just the right amount of freedom with plenty of guidance. Provide your teen with plenty of opportunities to practice the skills you’ve taught. Let them experience natural consequences and they’ll learn from their own mistakes. Over time, they’ll develop increased confidence in their ability to make healthy choices.
Help Develop Positive Self-Talk
Your teen’s inner monologue will play a major role in how they feel about themselves. If they are always thinking things like, “I’m so ugly,” or “No one likes me,” they’re bound to feel bad about themselves. Teach your teen to develop healthy self-talk. Point out how many thoughts aren’t true and help them see how being overly harsh can be detrimental. Teach them to reframe irrational thoughts like, “I’m going to fail because I’m stupid,” with something more realistic like, “I can understand my Maths lessons if I put in the effort.”
When a teen has confidence, they have the ability to take risks, think outside the box, and go for the things they want in life. Having confidence may even contribute to their resilience—especially if they are equipped with the notion that they will recover from even the most difficult challenges. To boost your teen’s self-esteem, make confidence-building a regular part of your parenting. Consistently challenge them, encourage them to try new things, and most importantly to believe in themselves even when they fail. Help them set goals and then be their biggest cheerleader focusing more on their hard work rather than the actual results. With effort and consistency, you will build a confidence in your teen that will help them weather even the most difficult setbacks.
Discussion Topics with your Teen
The following are some helpful tips for teens themselves.
Recognise Your Talents
It’s easy to blow off your abilities, especially if your peers make fun of them (and they probably do so out of jealousy). But get serious with yourself and make a list of things you love to do and are good at. Keep this list just for yourself and look at it often. Remember it when you do or say something you wish you hadn’t. Those talents of yours won’t go away, and you can rely on them for the rest of your life…as long as you cultivate them.
Cultivate Your Abilities
You may have so many interests and abilities that it’s impossible to develop them all; or, you may have one thing you really love to do. Regardless, look into developing and using some of your abilities in applications beyond school. Not only will it open more opportunities to look for activities around your community, but it might also remove you from peer judgment. When Homeschooling, you might choose to expand your skills with some part time work in that industry.
Be Like a Duck
Have you ever heard the expression that you should be like a duck and let negative words and attitudes roll off your back? It’s a good thing to cultivate – if you take every criticism or off-hand comment to heart, you might find yourself paralysed with fear of other’s judgment. Remember, you are just developing into the person you are meant to be. Your confidence will grow as you do. You will get out of this stage and you shouldn’t let the criticisms of others sabotage your future, which lasts a lot longer than teenage years.
Resist the Urge to Compare
When you look at your friends, or clips on celebrities, try to resist the temptation to scrutinize them as the gold standard to which you should aspire. Someone will always have better legs, superior athletic prowess, nicer hair, etc. than you. But those people don’t set the standard for you; you are who you are, and they can’t measure up to that, either!
Listen to the Inner Voice – Then Tell It to Shut Up
Stop and listen to your inner thoughts for a while. What do you automatically think of yourself in response to certain situations? What do you say to yourself when you wake up, interact with friends, or go to the shops? If you are tearing yourself down with negative thoughts, you need to stop. Address the negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk instead.