Why does my teen have low self-esteem? How can I help my teen develop self-confidence? Confidence is the belief that you’ll be successful or that you’ve made the right choice in a particular situation.
There’s no doubt that teen’s with a positive self-worth and self-esteem are more likely to make better choices and less likely to engage in risky behaviors. They also have the confidence to stand with their own decisions rather than following a negative peer group.
Teenagers today are faced with all sorts of peer pressure, not only offline, but with the rise of social media, they are constantly fighting the compare and despair feelings that can come with the false reality of digital lives. Teens that have self-confidence are better able to handle these emotional times, as well as navigate peer pressure and the challenges of dating relationships.
5 Ways to Help Your Teen Build Self-Confidence
If your teen is confident, they’re also more likely to be assertive, positive, engaged, enthusiastic and persistent.
1. Being involved in activities. Encourage your teen to try new opportunities whether it’s volunteering, sports, a musical instrument, choir, dance, clubs (chess, art, school paper, etc) or even a part-time job. Being involved in a new activity or even mastering it helps give them self-esteem to feel better about themselves. They not only make new positive friendships, it can make them feel more secure and confident.
2. Encourage positive self-talk. How your teen sees themselves can play a major role in how they feel about themselves. If they are always thinking or saying things like, “I’m so fat or ugly,” or “I have no friends,” they’re bound to continue to have these bad feelings. Teach them to develop healthy self-talk by pointing out how many of these thoughts simply aren’t true. Help them realize how being overly harsh with themselves is detrimental — especially when it’s not reality.
3. Teach assertive and social skills. If your teen feels anxious in social situations, they might need some guidance from you. For example, showing interest in other people’s activities and joining in conversations can help build confidence. An assertive teen will be able to ask for help when they don’t understand school work, rather than allow themselves to fall behind. To teach your teen to be assertive, begin by talking about the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Let them know that being assertive means standing up for themselves using a strong and confident voice without being rude or yelling at other people.
4. Praise their effort, not the outcome. If an exam, interview or sports game doesn’t work out the way your teen hoped, try to praise your child for the effort they put into the activity, rather than the outcome. Instead of saying, “Great job scoring those five points in the game,” say, “All that practicing you’ve been doing has been paying off.” Show them that it’s important to try hard and it’s OK if they don’t succeed all the time.
5. Model confidence. Do you have self-confidence? It’s important to be a role-model of self-confidence. How do you face new situations and how you self-talk about yourself will extend to your teen. Talk to your teen about the difficult times you’ve been through and what you’ve done to build your own confidence. For example, you might talk about how you’re feeling nervous about giving a presentation at work. You could tell your teen that you’re practicing the presentation at home so that you’ll be well prepared and confident on the day.
Make confidence-building a regular part of parenting — this will help boost your teen’s self-esteem. Encourage them to join new clubs, activities and if they are old enough to get a part-time job — or volunteer, it’s a fantastic way to feel good about themselves. Help them set goals and then be their biggest cheerleader focusing more on their work rather than actual results. You will build their confidence and they will make better choices in life, even if they have a few setbacks. Confidence also builds resilience.
If your teen is still struggling in spite of your efforts with depression or anxiety that may stem from low self-esteem, you may want to talk to your doctor. It’s possible the low self-worth is a result of a mental health issue. With proper treatment, they can help your teen overcome these challenges.
Are you struggling with your teenager? Have you exhausted your local resources? Therapy isn’t working? Learn more about the benefits of residential treatment for teen help.