Raising a teenager is no easy feat. As a parent, you want your child to feel confident and secure in themselves, but it can be challenging to know how to help them achieve that.
The teenage years can be a tumultuous time, filled with ups and downs, and it’s normal for your teen to struggle with self-esteem at times. However, as a parent, there are things you can do to support your teen and boost their confidence.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips and strategies for raising your teen’s self-esteem.
From encouraging building self-reliance and a growth mindset to supporting their interests and hobbies, we’ll cover practical advice that you can start implementing today.
Understanding self-esteem and confidence in teens
Self-esteem is an important aspect of mental health and wellbeing. It refers to a person’s overall belief in their own worth and abilities.
Confidence, on the other hand, is a more specific belief in one’s ability to succeed in a particular situation or task.
Both self-esteem and confidence are important for teenagers as they navigate the challenges of adolescence.
During the teenage years, many teens experience a decline in self-esteem.
This can be due to a variety of factors, such as social pressures, academic stress, familial pressure, and physical changes. Teens struggle with forming strong identities of their own with these pressures all around them.
It’s important for parents to understand that low self-esteem can have a detrimental impact on their teen’s mental health and well-being.
Teens with low self-esteem are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Teens are inherently looking for ways to feel better about themselves.
Though they may try to be true to themselves, attempt to set and hold boundaries, use their voice to speak their needs, pressures from others can interfere and increase their feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and even worthlessness.
Even though teens tend to act adult-like, they are still tender hearted kids who need guidance and love from their caretakers.
The teenage years are not a time to remove support completely; instead, you can help them grow their self-esteem through intentional acts of love.
Teens may not show all of their love outwardly, and you can still be loud about yours.
Tips for building your teen’s confidence
Setting boundaries is a way to help improve teen self-esteem.
The use of social media can lead to lower teen self-esteem, and though it is pervasive, you can set boundaries with your teens regarding social media use.
A recent article from the American Psychological Association speaks to the impact social media has on teens and what parents need to know.
When approaching boundaries with social media, phone and other devices or games, being creative can help. You can create electronic hotels (a basket, bag, or even door organizer) to set limits with cell phones, tablets, etc.
When kids are helping to make dinner, eating around the table with family, or any other social activity, electronics can be put away.
This helps teen self-esteem in two ways; you are teaching them the importance of boundaries and you are getting teens involved in social time without social media.
Encouraging self-reliance can help raise teens self-esteem.
It may be difficult to let go of some responsibility because it might not be done perfectly, but this is an important strategy in helping your teen build confidence.
Read More: “5 Ways to Help Your Teen Become Self-Sufficient”
Encouraging your teen to try things their way to see how it goes, can set a tone that you want them to try things out and that you are there for them regardless of the outcome.
This gives you the opportunity to see how your teen problem solves and them the opportunity to take risks, knowing they will be supported.
If things go well when they try it their way, celebrate with them.
If things don’t go as planned, avoid “I told you so’s” and advice-giving. Instead, use this as an opportunity to guide them in thinking through what they might do the same and different next time.
Life is about learning lessons and no one needs lessons to be painful examples of what not to do.
It may be tempting to do everything for your teen because you fear they may get hurt or might do it in a way that doesn’t make sense to you…yet. However, it can be empowering to teens and their self-esteem and self-worth when they learn through trial and error.
Mistakes will be made, and that is okay. Have conversations rather than passing judgement. Invite your teen to take ownership with self-reliance and start conversations with a “what do you think?” approach.
Teens can improve their mental health and self-esteem through helping others.
Volunteer work, mentorship and peer support activities can be a way to get your teen involved in their community to build healthy relationships and self-esteem.
Read More: “5 Tips To Engaging With Your Teen”
While teens should not be in the position of taking care of a peer’s mental or emotional challenges as that can lead to very scary, and dangerous situations for both teens; learning to support others, in ways that it is appropriate for teens, can build self-esteem for themselves and encourage looking outside the self.
Volunteering time to a cause that is important to a teen can improve a teens mood, builds responsibility, helps with accountability, integrity and planning and can be a lot of fun.
It is healthy for teens to have friendships and relationships with a variety of people and those connections can happen through helping others or causes they feel good about.
When teens are doing for others, they can take a break from worrying and build relationships too.
Self-esteem can improve when teens harness a growth mindset.
Having a healthy relationship with failure will not only be important as a teen but also throughout their life.
Read More: “Resilience Helps Teens Thrive. Learn How To Build Resilient Teens”
Mistakes will happen, and perfectionism is a difficult trait to carry with you throughout a lifetime.
Teach your teen how to be okay with a mistake by modeling that you are okay with a mistake.
If you make a mistake, think about your self-talk. Are you berating yourself?
If so, clean up your self-talk so that your teens can improve their own way of talking to themselves. Negative self-talk will happen, and positive self talk is possible.
You will make a mistake with it and you can recognize when you do and shift.
I am such a dummy!
I made a mistake. I am not dumb even though it felt like a dumb mistake.
Geez! I can never do anything right.
I didn’t get it right this time, and I can try it different next time.
Wow! What a disaster!
I feel overwhelmed. I am going to take a step back to reflect and come back to this shortly.
The way you speak to yourself internally or out loud matters because your actions will likely match.
Your teenager is watching and how you treat yourself is reflected back to them.
You don’t have to do this perfectly and having a growth mindset means you are willing to take accountability and apologize when you get it wrong. You will get it wrong.
Helping to improve your teen’s self-esteem may actually help you raise your own too!
As parents or caretakers, you are modeling behavior to your children. The change in how they talk to themselves or manage mistakes can start with you.
If you feel overwhelmed by this prospect, we have mental health therapists in Denver who specialize in teen counseling in Colorado.
At Denver Metro Counseling, we value tapping into the tools that are already within you and the teen in your life. We are here to help.