How to help your teenager to be self-confident

Being a teenager is a tough business, often underestimated by parents.

The teenage years are filled with change on many levels – teenagers have to deal with changes in their physical appearance and emotional maturity.

A teenager’s brain is constantly reorganising itself. This can leave them overwhelmed, tired and confused.

Whilst all this is happening, it is not that easy to exude self-confidence and to believe in yourself.

Social media doesn’t make anything easier; it often adds to feelings of low self-esteem.

Here are some tips to help your teen to be self-confident:

1. Teach your teenager to use positive self-talk

Positive self-talk is an inner monologue. It helps you to feel good about yourself and what is going on in your life.

It is a little optimistic voice in your head. This voice tells you to look at the bright side of life and to be kind to yourself.

If positive self-talk is practised over a period of time it becomes a way of life.

2. None of this ‘Don’t do what I do, do what I say”!

Your teenager will learn more about self-confidence based on what you do, than on what you say.

As the parent of a teenager you have to face life with courage and confidence. You have to show your teen how important it is to love, and believe in yourself.

Lead by example: don’t put others down or criticise yourself – or anyone else in the family – too harshly.

3. Encourage diversity in interests & activities, and self-growth

The saying goes, “Better an ‘oops’, than a ‘what if’”.

Encourage your teenager to try new things.

Trying new activities, moving out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, learning a new skill, discovering a hidden talent – all of this makes you feel better about yourself and it leads to an enhanced feeling of self-worth.

Self-worth, self-growth and self-confidence equal self-empowerment.

4. Advice – give less, ask for & listen

Give less: Don’t try to solve every problem your teenager encounters. Micromanagement of their problems don’t allow them the opportunity to practise problem-solving skills. Step back at times and let them learn from their own mistakes.

Ask for: Be open with the teenagers in your home. Discuss your own challenges – at work, with friends, on the financial front – that you are facing. Ask what they would do if faced with a similar situation.

Listen: Don’t give in to the temptation to lecture. Listen instead. This builds a relationship of trust between you and your teen and it helps you to learn what is important to them.

5. Being assertive is bold

Being assertive means that you are willing to speak up for yourself, in a confident way, without hurting someone else’s feelings or communicating in an aggressive manner.

It is important that teenagers know how to speak up for themselves in an appropriate manner.

This enables them to say no when it is time to say ‘No!’; to ask for help when it is needed and to make their own informed choices.