As adults, we have had enough life experiences to realize the importance of confidence and believing in our own abilities. We know that in order to feel successful at our jobs, or any endeavor we care about, we need to have a sense of self-worth that drives us to keep going.
But many of us can also recall how insecure we felt during our teenage years. I can remember feeling awkward, unattractive, and embarrassed, even when I was surrounded by a group of my closest friends. Many of the high school students I work with have avoided trying out for sports or being involved in clubs because they feel like they aren’t as talented or qualified as the other students. They also compare themselves to other teens and put a lot of pressure on themselves to live up to other people’s standards. It can be exhausting!
There is no doubt that having confidence is essential to your teen’s success. It can help them make safe and informed decisions, face challenges, and set (and achieve) their goals. There are many different ways you can work on your teen’s confidence.
Here are a few of my favorite strategies for raising a confident teen:
Create a collage about your teenager.
Include pictures, words, and phrases describing their best characteristics and strengths. The board is for you, to help remind you of the parts of your teen that you want them to feel good about. Whenever you notice your teen exhibiting any of those characteristics, you should make a comment. The comment should include what you saw, how it helps them now, and how it can help them in the future.
Seek out a volunteer experience.
To a teen, knowing that they are making an impact in someone else’s life can make them feel good about themselves. Plus, it shifts the dynamic to your teen being the one who is providing help to someone else rather than the other way around.
Surround them with positive role models.
Work on finding a role model or mentor. Family friends, teachers, coaches, or someone working in the field they are interested in are all good places to start. You can also look for motivational speakers on YouTube that your teen could relate to. Even though it’s virtual, that influence can become a constant for them.
Find a physical outlet.
Running, yoga, and exercise classes are great for the mind and the body. If team sports are too much pressure, try an individual sport like golf or bowling, or try joining a gym (personal trainers are also a great idea!).
Help them get a job.
What a great way to teach your confident teen responsibility, meet new people, and make some money.
Praise the process rather than the outcome.
Praise the hard work put into a project rather than the A your teen received as a grade. If we praise the process instead of the outcome, then teens are more willing to recognize that their self-confidence isn’t based on a score, an outcome, or a result.
Click here to download Natalie’s 20 Strategies to Help Boost Your Teen’s Confidence
Natalie is the Founder of Life Success for Teens. She coached high school and competitive cheerleading for 8 years and this is where she realized that she had a gift for connecting with teenagers and motivating them to be the best version of themselves. She has over ten years of experience working as a school psychologist in a public high school. Her areas of expertise include working with students who have ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, and other learning differences.
Natalie earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio State University in 2004, her Master’s Degree in School Psychology in 2006 from Michigan State University, and her Educational Specialist Degree in 2007 from Kent State University. She became a certified Academic Life Coach in 2015 and founded Life Success For Teens in 2016.
When she is not coaching students, Natalie can be found traveling with her family, reading cookbooks, or binge-watching episodes of home decorating shows. One of her favorite parts of coaching is getting a text or email from her former students.