How to boost your teenagers’ confidence

Confidence is the assurance that you can succeed in a given situation, and life in general. It is all about working on oneself: practicing self-acceptance, working on self-improvement and developing self-confidence. I believe the following ideas can instill lifelong confidence in your teenage son or daughter:

1–Praise their efforts rather than the outcomes

“Do your very best” is a nice way to underline your expectations. Should the outcome not be the desired one, the fact that the teenager acted at their maximum potential should be the source of praise and encouragement to keep pressing on.

2–Model confidence

Talk the talk and walk the walk, as they say. What do you do when you’re dealing with a life/work/family situation? How do you react? How do you feel about your abilities, skills etc.? Remember that you are an example to them and adjust your behaviour when necessary.

teenagers self confidence
Parents with healthy self confidence serve as positive role models for their teenagers

3–Encourage your teenage son/daughter to look for new opportunities

Nobody likes to fail, but what you do after that is the most important thing. Show your sons and daughters that there is a silver lining, and that failures can be opportunities for learning and new beginnings. Show them support all the way, beyond expressions such as “everything’s gonna be alright”.

4–Be very aware of the special challenges social media brings to teenagers’ confidence

There is a great need for a healthy self-worth foundation that goes beyond social media. Teenagers cannot dwell on social media attention. It is important they develop a strong sense of self-worth that goes beyond getting lots of “likes” on Instagram posts. Family quality time can identify deficits in self-perception when it starts to derail. Sports release endorphins which are the hormone of happiness at any age. Having a healthy circle of friends that do other things to entertain themselves, beyond social media, is key.

5–Teach them about positive self-talk

If you start such a strategy early, it might not seem so strange during adolescence. Have a conversation with them in the mirror, ask them to look at themselves and express how they feel.

6–Have them persist in something they’re good at

If they have at least one thing they can cling to, which makes them think “I’m good at this”, they will have an anchor when things go a bit downhill.

7–Balance giving them freedom and guidance

Learning from your own mistakes can be positive. Learning only from your own mistakes is extremely challenging and can lead to a series of failures with severe consequences. Provide a healthy environment and context in which the teenager can act unhindered. In case of a failure, talk about the lesson learnt. Can it be avoided in the future? What could they have done better or done differently?

8–Teach your teenagers to speak up for themselves

They will eventually need to speak about their needs, thoughts and circumstances. They need to learn it is ok to speak up when they don’t understand an explanation, the regulations or what their teacher says.

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