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Raising a confident teen is so important. When teens are confident, they have the strength and resilience to face different situations and challenges. A confident teen is going to be more prepared to take on milestones such as getting their learner’s permit and license, and they’re also going to be better able to deal with academic and social pressure. Confident teens will be more able to adapt to change, and they’ll be more flexible in how they deal with various situations that might come their way. Other benefits of confidence in teens include:
- Improved problem-solving and decision-making skills
- More positivity in general
- More prepared to be successful throughout their life
With that being said, as a parent, how can you raise a confident teen?
Have An Understanding of What Self-Confidence Really Means
Sometimes even as adults, we don’t necessarily have a clear understanding of what self-confidence is and what it looks like. Self-confidence is about how your teen feels about him or herself, and it shows in how they behave and act in different situations. Self-confidence isn’t about raising a teen who always believes him or herself to be the best or always to be right.
Self-confidence allows a teen to understand where they can make improvements in their lives and recognizing what changes they might need to make to reach their goals. A self-confident person can accept they aren’t perfect and work toward achieving what they want, rather than getting stuck in either the idea that they’ll never achieve their goals or that they aren’t a work in progress.
As a parent, your goal should be helping your teen acknowledge their flaws but not to the point that these flaws become discouraging or take over their lives. Rather, when your teen sees areas to improve, they can strive to become better.
Praise Efforts Rather Than Entirely Focusing On Outcomes
As parents in our quest to raise confident teens, our focus for our praise should be on the effort they make rather than solely on the outcome. For example, maybe your teen takes on an AP math class, and they might not always make great grades but focus on their willingness to take on the challenge and the work they’re putting in. In all of our lives, we can’t always have complete control over outcomes, but we can have control over our efforts.
Focus on Realistic Goals
Teens need to be encouraged to set goals that are going to be a challenge, but not so much so that they’ll never be able to achieve them. Setting manageable, realistic goals can help a teen realize their abilities and boost their confidence, but if the goals are too lofty, it’s going to be discouraging and have the opposite effect.
Set the Standard with Your Own Behavior
Even though you might not think it’s true, your teens are looking to you as a model of how to think and behave in many ways. If you’re unnecessarily hard on yourself, your teen may pick up on these behaviors and beliefs as well. On the other hand, if you never admit where you can improve, your teen may think that’s the way to be self-confident.
Being resilient is not just imperative for self-confidence in teens—it’s generally one of the most important life skills any of us can have. Life will inevitably hand us challenges and hurdles, as well as disappointment and heartbreak. How we deal with it is within our control, even though the circumstances surrounding it might not be. Teach teens to use hard experiences as a way to learn but then to move forward rather than dwelling or getting stuck in heartache or disappointment.
Give Your Teen Some Independence
As parents when we’re raising teens, one of the biggest challenges is balancing giving them independence with wanting to protect them.
If you want a self-confident teen, you are going to have to provide opportunities for independence, within reason. Take it slowly and give your teen an increasing amount of independence as they show they can handle it.
Finally, when instilling self-confidence in teens look outside the mental and to the physical. Sports or physical activities are a great way to boost confidence and help teens learn many of life’s lessons in a unique way. Encourage your teen to find a sport or physical activity they enjoy which will allow them to excel, but also face potential losses and setbacks. Sports can help teens learn to accept their weaknesses but also build on their strengths, and they can also promote teamwork.