How to help young mob stand tall

There’s no doubt that dealing with life's challenges gets a little easier the more you live, learn and grow. But resilience isn’t just something that comes with age, it can be learnt and taught. Encouraging your teenager to believe in themselves and be confident will prepare them to feel stronger during tough times.

We asked the Stubbs, a Wangkatha family, to share why it’s important to build up a teen’s sense of self and some of the ways that parents and carers can do this for their young ones.

Download a transcript of this video.

Self-belief and self-confidence builds resilience

Knowing who you are is a deeply important part of building resilience. A strong sense of self allows teens the freedom to explore new paths, stand up for themselves, and bounce back from challenges.

Helping young Indigenous people feel good about who they are and their heritage is so important for their wellbeing and building resilience.

The teenage years can be particularly tough to navigate, because that sense of self is still forming and can be vulnerable. Challenges like bullying, racism or discrimination, poor body image, and peer pressure can all impact a teen’s self-belief and self-confidence. By feeling confident, teens are better prepared to face these issues.

How parents can help their teens build self-belief and self-confidence

Strengthen their connection to culture

Being proud of your culture and identity is a big part of feeling confident and self-assured. As a parent or carer, you have the power to connect your teen with their identity and culture. By encouraging them to embrace their identity, you’re helping them to stand tall.

Get some tips on how to help your teen build pride in their culture. Or read how Shaan supports her family to connect to culture.

Set supportive boundaries

Part of helping teens feel safe and secure in themselves is trusting them to make good decisions. This doesn’t mean you have to give them complete freedom to do whatever they want, but giving them chances to try new things can help build their confidence. 

Take the time to set clear and supportive boundaries with your teen, so you’re both on the same page about what you expect. Boundaries can adapt based on your family’s needs, culture and communication style. The key is that they are built on trust, fairness, and compromise.

As an Indigenous boy growing up, my parents told me not to chase that little bird, because that little bird will take me away from my camp.

Learn more about setting realistic boundaries with your teenager.

Be the best role model you can be

Parents and carers have unique perspectives on life that teens haven’t had the chance to develop yet. Because of this, you can model positive ways to face challenges and bounce back from hard times. Showcasing your own self-belief and self-confidence will show your teen that it’s okay to believe in themselves too.

Having trusted people around to guide me was so crucial to my upbringing.

Teens put a lot of trust in the adults around them, so it’s important to foster a strong support network. As well as you, teens may also look to other parents and carers, aunts and uncles, cousins, teachers, coaches, and Elders for guidance. 

Ultimately, young people will make their own way in life but it always helps to be shown the way forward. Building them up, supporting who they are, and encouraging them to believe in themselves will allow them to stand tall.