The teen years are a critical phase in the life of your child when they are dealing with the pressures of puberty, peers, academic performance and preparation for the real world. As your child’s scope of life increases with new challenges and expectation, it is often accompanied by a diminishing sense of confidence and increasing uncertainty.
Many parents also believe that a confident child grows into a confident adolescent. But this is far from the truth. Very often, as your teenager deals with the new unknowns of the teen years, there is an increased feeling of insecurity and anxiety. Insecure teens also tend to veer towards their peer groups for support as belonging to a social collective creates assurance when individual confidence is low.
As a parent, you want to help your child be as happy and confident as possible, and most of us believe that simply heaping praises on our kids can do the trick. But there is a lot more to building self-confidence than simply boosting the ego. Here are a few tips to help your teens with their self-esteem and social confidence during these crucial years.
i. Silence your inner critic and avoid pointing to your child’s mistakes all the time.
Instead be supportive of their failures and accepting of your child fault’s. As parents, try to love your kids for who they are and this acceptance at home, will go a long way in boosting their self-worth. And in matters that do require reproach, try offering constructive criticism and as far as possible never criticize in front of others.
ii. Give your teenager new responsibilities around the house to demonstrate your confidence in them.
Make it your teen’s responsibility to do the weekly bill payments, grocery shopping or even to pick up younger siblings from school. These new responsibilities will give them a sense of self achievement and make them feel valuable in the family.
iii. Encourage your teenager to take up new hobbies, sports, join new clubs and participate in community activities.
Try not to let the fear of rejection stop them. These activities provide an outlet for pent up emotions, help them develop and explore new talents to feel more empowered and confident.
iv. Build a stable foundation for your teenager’s self-worth by emphasising on the importance of values.
Teach your teenager that true self-worth comes from inner values of bravery, kindness, humility, rather than external expressions of beauty.
v. Keep a constant check on your teen’s friend circle and encourage him to bring friends home.
Friendships are important to teenagers and you can encourage your teen to surround themselves with friends who are supportive and have similar values. Bringing them home also allows you to watch your teenager’s friends for any signs of bullying or reproachful behaviour.
vi. Encourage your teen to be part of the family decision making process.
Teenagers of this digital era can be very resourceful and giving them an opportunity to be part of an adult conversation, will not only boost their self-confidence, but may bring forth surprising solutions to your challenges as well.
vii. Recognise the individual in your child at home and at school.
Most teens spend a large portion of their time in school and hence it is essential that the school too recognises the unique individuality of your child rather than seeing them as part of a herd. Schools such as VIBGYOR have a good student-teacher ratio that helps them focus on each teenager individually. This is essential to boost the self confidence of the teenagers.
As a parent it is our responsibility to allow our children to develop healthy patterns of self-confidence. We do hope our tips will guide you towards bringing up confident and happy teenagers.