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11 Ways to Help Teens Feel Confident

Helping Your Teen Gain Self-Confidence

As they transition into adulthood, children must learn to function in a dramatically expanded playing field of life experience. All too often, this leads to anxiety and self-doubt. To help your child learn independence and self-respect, consider these confidence-boosting tips tailored for parents and teens.

Be an inspiration. Don't tell your teen what you think they should be; show them. By living the way we would like our children to live, we can inspire them. Try to be a good example by showing your teen what kindness and confidence looks like on a daily basis.

Be honest. You can better relate to your child by opening up about your most embarrassing teenage moments. Humility can be a powerful way to make teens feel more normal and less self-conscious.

Relate as a peer. Try to speak to your teenager like an adult as much as possible. Do not talk down to your children, even when they act like they know everything.

Give praise. Instead of complimenting your child on their looks, intelligence or athleticism, praise your teen for what they do and how they behave.

Develop a healthy discourse. Conflict is an inevitable part of parenthood. Teach your child to argue effectively to help them understand logic and build confidence. Remember to demonstrate appropriate behavior by staying calm and listening attentively. Good communication skills can really empower a teen, especially when they are dealing with so many emotional highs and lows.

Be available. It's important to spend quality time with your teen. To inspire confidence, however, it's best to do it in ways that make them feel more equal. Make dinner or lunch plans with your teen just as you would a peer or friend. Going out for a meal or cup of coffee can signify a rite of passage that can make them feel like confident adults.

Broaden their horizons. Teens gain significant confidence when they are exposed to new environments and ideas. Attend a professional event with your teen, travel to a new city or consider volunteering together at a shelter. By helping them explore, you can help your teen become confident in his or her ability to adapt to new situations.

Build emotional intelligence. It's important for teenagers to learn how to put their emotions into words, so they can understand why they feel a certain way. This is a critical skill during the tumultuous teenage years and in the many years of adulthood that lay ahead.

Discourage perfectionism. Perfectionism can cause stress and depression in teenagers, who often have difficulty living up to unrealistic expectations from parents and themselves. Your child needs to know that mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of, especially if we take steps to learn from our errors. When your teen makes a mistake, help them identify what led to the situation and the steps they should take to avoid similar issues in the future.

Teach assertiveness. Teenagers often want to please others and have difficulty standing up for themselves. Teach your teen assertiveness and explain the power of saying "no" when they feel uncomfortable. It's important for teens to learn how to stand up for themselves now, so they will have the confidence to look out for their own interests as they continue down the path of life.

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