Children are not born with confidence. It’s our job as parents to teach our children how to conquer the world and instill confidence in them. Unfortunately, many parents believe that they can take the hands off approach when their child becomes a teenager. They think that because they no longer need assistance with small daily tasks, that parenting transforms into friendship. Those parents (I know, not you) are sadly mistaken. This may actually be the time that your teenager needs you the most! If you are struggling to communicate with your teen and notice that confidence is an issue, check out this list of 9 amazingly easy ways to help your teenager gain confidence.
Provide them with opportunities to lead
The perfect time to teach your kids leadership skills is when they are young before they become jaded. Why should you teach them to lead? Because it’s attractive. Leadership will help them be promoted on their job. It’s a skill that everyone is looking for, but not many have. Leadership requires practice and teens often don’t have the opportunity to perfect their leadership skills simply because they aren’t given the opportunity to practice. How can you provide them with opportunities to lead? Encourage your teen to volunteer at the local soup kitchen, church, nursing home or food bank. Allow them to take the lead in planning a family vacation
Allow them to assist with life tasks
I remember the day my dad asked me to pump gas as a preteen. I thought to myself, why in the world is Daddy making me do this? He even walked me through how to pay at the pump. I also remember (okay I’m showing my age here, don’t laugh) the day my dad set up this new thing called email. He made me create an account and email him so I’d know how to use it. Little did I know, my dad was teaching me how to be independent by involving me in everyday tasks. When I moved out of the house, there were many things that I could do on my own, that I don’t really ever remember officially learning. I learned by doing and that built my confidence as a young adult.
Talk with them about finances
One day, your teens will be on their own. For some of you, this may come sooner than later depending on their career path (college, military, moving out and working). You need to teach your kids how to save money and handle their finances responsibly. According to JumpStart Coalition for Financial Literacy, only 26% of 13-21-year-olds surveyed said that their parents taught them how to manage money. YIKES! Introduce your teen to the concept of saving first and paying yourself last.
Respect their need for autonomy while setting healthy boundaries
This is a tricky balance. As your teen learns how to drive, goes on outings without you and uses a cell phone daily, it can be difficult to know where to draw the line. Being a parent means that you must set boundaries to keep your children safe and avoid pitfalls. At the same time, if you have done your job, you can trust them to have an increased level of responsibility and autonomy. Each child is different, so the amount of autonomy you give your child will vary from your friend’s children or your other children.
Give compliments about their character
The teenage years can be awkward years. Voices & bodies are changing. Hormones are raging. Sometimes your teen feels unsure of themselves. They change their style, laugh & persona to fit what they think others will accept. This is the time your teen needs to hear from you. Not only do they need to hear about the physical, but more than that, they need confirmation about their inner qualities. Compliment your teen verbally, or through notes. I’ve found this amazing company called Sticky Quotes. They are basically inspirational sticky notes. These are perfect for putting in your teen’s lunchbox, car, desk or anywhere else they might see them. A little word of encouragement goes a long way.
Encourage them to advocate for themselves at school
As a parent, our job is to raise children to be confident problem solvers. As a school counselor, I see students who come to me with issues they could solve themselves. They don’t know where to begin. For example, they are angry with a friend, but haven’t expressed it because their friend should “just know.” WHAT? Or, their teacher marked an answer wrong that should be right. They are too afraid to ask the teacher about it. When did we start raising wimpy kids? Teach your kids how to speak up for themselves. Teach them that addressing issues doesn’t always equal conflict.
Teach them problem-solving skills
This goes along with the last point. Growing up, I knew that I had to attempt to solve a problem first before I came to my parents. I always hated that my dad, the computer genius would make me do basic troubleshooting on a computer. I used to think to myself if he knows what to do, why won’t he just do it? Now I realize he was helping me gain confidence in my own problem-solving skills. I’m no computer tech, but I can do a few basic troubleshooting tasks on my own before putting in a work order. We have to remember that we are training our kids to one day be independent. Teaching them problem-solving skills helps us be confident that our children can fend for themselves one day.
Model healthy communication skills
If you want your teen to communicate effectively with others at school, work and in the world, then you have to model healthy communication skills with them at home. Sometimes talking to teenagers can be difficult because…well…they just make it difficult. They answer you with one-word answers or give you a blank stare. Keep talking. Keep asking them about their day, their friends, their feelings. Teens are in an awkward place, they feel like they are half way to adulthood, but there is still so much they don’t know. They don’t like to admit that they still need their parents, but they do! When they know that their parents care about communicating with them, it immediately builds their confidence.
Teach them the importance of social media etiquette
This tip could actually be #1. Gone are the days of handwritten notes folded into origami-like structures. Teenagers are communicating almost solely through social media, and it isn’t always positive. As a middle school counselor, I spend copious amounts of time trying to salvage broken relationships damaged by words spoken on social media. I am always saddened by parents’ lack of knowledge about the apps their teens are using that sometimes have irreversible and destructive consequences. Do yourself a favor and teach your kids that what they post online never goes away. And please, monitor their online behavior.
Do you have any other ideas about how to help your teen gain confidence? I’d love to hear all about it, so comment below! Oh, and just because you are special, I’m sharing a discount code for Sticky Quotes.
Use code SMILE for 20% off.
*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.