Six Tips for Building Your Teen’s Confidence

By Huntington Learning Center

The teen years can be exciting, tumultuous and full of change. Some teens take it all in stride while others struggle with the impending life decisions and the overall stress of school. One of the best things you as a parent can do to help your teen is build his or her confidence. Confident teens have a good attitude about school, are persistent and tend to weather the ups and downs effectively. What can you do to bolster your teen’s confidence? Here are six tips:

  1. Let your teen struggle. Often, learning occurs when teens have to muddle through things and figure them out for themselves. Resist the urge to step in and fix problems for your teen. Over-helping with homework and problem solving does your teen no favors in the long run.
  2. Encourage goal setting. Goal setting is a valuable process for many reasons. It gets your teen thinking about the future, keeps him or her focused on how to achieve important endeavors, and guides your teen toward personal growth. That said, it is important that you let your teen own this process. It’s fine to get your teen’s wheels turning and offer ideas and support, but the goals themselves should be your teen’s—not your goals for your teen.
  3. Teach your teen to care about what he or she can control. Everyone tries and fails sometimes. Remind your teen to take pride in his or her efforts and diligence rather than focus solely on desired outcomes. Acknowledge the development that occurs when your teen puts in the work.
  4. Nudge your teen toward taking risks. Playing it safe all the time limits growth. Your teen might one day go on to start a business or have a job that requires frequent decision making based on different pros/cons and risk factors. Taking calculated risks and pushing oneself to try new things have advantages—and your teen will learn from any missteps.
  5. Put your teen in charge. Hopefully you have given your teen the opportunity to make decisions often throughout his or her life, but this is especially important in high school. Your teen needs to learn how to weigh options and be decisive—and also how to pivot to try new approaches after making poor decisions.
  6. Be a good role model. Mom and Dad, don’t underestimate the influence you can have on your teen every single day. Take pride in your accomplishments. Try something new and give it your best. Learn from your mistakes and share with your teen how you do so—and how you grow from the experience.

Confidence isn’t something that you can simply give to your teen, but you are in a great position to help him or her nurture and develop it.  Believe in your teen and express that faith in his or her abilities. The long-term benefits of a confident mindset are so great that your efforts are definitely worthwhile.