8 Essential Strategies for Raising a Confident Teen

Confident Teen
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The adolescent years can be filled with self-doubt, a negative body image, and troubling anxiety for a teen with self-esteem issues. Often, kids who seemed very confident throughout childhood struggle to maintain self-assurance during the teen years.

It’s important to help your teen build healthy self-confidence. Here are eight strategies that will instill life-long confidence in your teen:

1. Teach Your Teen to Practice Acceptance While Striving to Become Better

When teens struggle in one area of their lives, they’re prone to conclude they’re doomed.

A teen who has difficulty with math may decide she’s not smart. Or a teen who fails to make the soccer team may decide she’ll never be good at sports.

Show your teen that it’s possible to accept her flaws while also striving to become better. Rather than label herself as “stupid,” help your teen see that while she’s struggling academically, she can still strive to become better.

2. Praise Your Teen’s Efforts Instead of the Outcome

Rather than praise your teen for getting a good grade on an exam, praise her for the effort she put into getting that grade. That will send the message that she doesn’t always have to be successful in everything he does. Instead, it’s more important that she tries hard.

3. 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 she doesn’t understand her school work, rather than allow herself to fall behind.

An assertive teen is also less likely to be treated poorly by her peers. She will know how to speak up for herself if she’s bullied and she will be able to ask for what she needs from her friends in a direct manner. Teach your teen how to communicate in an assertive manner so she can be confident in her ability to get her needs met.

4. Encourage Your Teen to Explore New Opportunities

Many teens are afraid to step out of their comfort zones. They’re afraid of failure and they certainly don’t want to embarrass themselves. A teen who lacks the confidence to try new things runs the risk of missing out on opportunities that could help her flourish.

Trying new activities, discovering hidden talents, and challenging herself to become can help grow a teen’s confidence. Encourage your teen to join a new club, play a musical instrument, engage in volunteer work, or find a part-time job.

5. Model Confidence

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.

6. Build Self-Worth on a Healthy Foundation

Sometimes teens base their self-worth on unhealthy foundations.

For example, a teen may only feel good about herself only when she’s in a relationship or only when she fits into a certain size pair of pants. But, 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 her self-worth. Emphasize your values and teach her that true self-worth is about living according to those values. For example, help her see that it’s more important to be kind and caring rather than thin or pretty.

7. Balance Freedom with Guidance

Micromanaging your teen’s choices will only reinforce to her that she 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 her. Let her experience natural consequences and she’ll learn from her own mistakes. Over time, she’ll develop increased confidence in her ability to make healthy choices.

8. Help Your Teen Develop Positive Self-Talk

Your teen’s inner monologue will play a major role in how she feels about herself. If she’s always thinking things like, “I’m so ugly,” or “No one likes me,” she’s bound to feel bad about herself.

Teach your teen to have more productive thoughts about herself. Point out how many thoughts aren’t true and help her see how being overly harsh on herself can be detrimental. Help her learn how to replace thoughts like, “I’m going to fail because I’m stupid,” with something more realistic like, “I can pass math class if I work hard.” 

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