The teenage years are so tough. There are so many insecurities. Comparisons to others. Trying to find oneself. Trying to fit in. Bullies. Hormones. Acne. Body changes. Mood swings. All kinds of fun stuff, right? Then imagine hundreds of teens in the same school going through the same thing, with each kid at different stages or going through different things than others. Hormone city, man. And we adults have been there so we KNOW how tough it is being a teen.
So how do you encourage your teen to be confident and take the teenage years all in good stride?
Well let me tell you this, there is no “good stride”. There are going to be up’s. There are going to be down’s. The good news is that you, as a parent, can help your teen get through these years with a bit more ease.
So, how, do you ask? Here are 10 tips for raising a confident teen that I encourage you to try out on your own teenager
1. Be trustworthy. You need to be there when your teen needs you. For them to come to you is huge and if they feel comfortable doing so, feel good about that. Provide a safe home environment with firm but FAIR discipline. Don’t try to be their friend.
2. Give your teen choices. Making a decision is a huge deal for a teen and if you give them the choice to make one, that will help them gain more confidence.
3. Encourage your teen to try new things. For example, I encouraged a sweet little teen of mine to try out volleyball and she really wasn’t too keen on the idea. With a little encouragement, you’ll never believe what happened. She LOVES it more than any other activity she has participated in. My words of wisdom? “You don’t know if you don’t try!”
4. Be your teen’s biggest fan. Attend those sports games. Take interest in their school activities and other interests. Show that you care! Seeing you in the stands or in the crowd will make them feel good.
5. Do not use criticism when talking to your teen. AND try to stay away from sarcasm. This is one of my biggest downfalls…the sarcasm part. Sarcasm is part of my personality so I often times find myself pausing to really think before I say something. You don’t want to hurt more than you help.
6. Allow your teen to fail, do not fix their problems for them. If they need you to help talk the problem through, ask open ended questions so that they come to their own conclusions. Role play different scenarios if it helps your teen find their answer – but allow them to find the answer that is right for them.
7. Model a positive attitude by handling everyday decisions with confidence. The attitude that you emulate is the attitude that your child will learn!
8. Give your child positive feedback when he/she does something well. Praise is always a great confidence booster.
9. Do things with your teen. Spending time doing things with your teen likes will not only help your bond with your teen but have them feeling positive about themselves too, believe it or not!
10. Talk to them often! Establish clear and OPEN communication, mutual respect and understanding.
For those of you with a teenager or those who made it through the teenage years, have you found any strategies that work (worked) for you? How about those that don’t or didn’t work?