When it comes to raising a happy and healthy teen, confidence is key. The first step to helping your teen is figuring out why they might feel down about themselves in the first place.
Being a teen can be a confusing time, compounded by physical and hormonal shifts as well as new environments and changing social dynamics. If you suspect that your teen is lacking in self-esteem or experiencing low confidence, there are ways you can lend a hand to build them back up.
Some useful strategies that you can try:
- Talk about the difficulties they are facing. Sometimes a little conversation can go a long way. If you’re worried about your teen, then open up to them about it in a way that shows you care.
- Speak their language – teenagers may feel less guarded chatting via email or text message than face-to-face. Try sending them a text during the day to check-in.
- Encourage your child to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Negative self-talk is a common sign in a teen that is feeling down on themselves. Help counter this by highlighting all their good traits.
- Remind your child that their worth is not based on their achievements or appearance. Value their kindness and empathy and avoid placing too much weight in results or looks.
- Set a solid example. While it might sometimes feel like they never listen, teenagers are big mimics when it comes to copying behaviour. Be wary of putting yourself down.
- Praise your child for their accomplishments but also highlight their efforts, even when they might fail to reach the desired results.
- Encourage them to be proud of themselves and to keep trying – explain that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s OK to fail but to try again.
- Sharing is caring. Open up about times you’ve also lacked confidence and rallied to overcome it. Your child will draw strength from your experiences.
- Closely support your child with tough tasks. Conquering a difficult task is a real confidence booster, and by lending a hand, you can help them reach their goal.
- If you notice a lack of confidence is really affecting your child, suggest they speak to their school counsellor.
There are also some great resources available on the youth website, ReachOut.com, that you can help your child learn about building confidence for themselves. Such as: