Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

5 Ways to Raise Confident Teens

Three teenage girls smiling

It is difficult being a teenager. Adolescents are stuck somewhere between childhood and establishing their adult identity. Much of their life is trying new strategies to see if they work. As a result, they go through crises of confidence on a daily basis. Here are five ways parents can help develop confident teens.

Ask For Their Input

When establishing rules and consequences it is important to solicit input from your teenage kids. If they feel like you value their contributions, they will develop confidence in their beliefs. If they feel welcome to speak up at home, they are more likely to voice their opinions in classes and groups of people. For instance, sit down with your teen and go over the house rules and ask for their input as to what consequences they should receive if rules are broken. If they feel like you are respecting what they have to say, then they will respect themselves.

Let Out The Rope (Gradually)

Sometimes parents have difficulty seeing their adolescents as anything other than eight years old. They want to continue to protect their children and make decisions for them. Parents need to gradually give their teenagers more freedom and responsibility if they want to promote their independence. Make sure you are not doing things for your teen that they could reasonably do for themselves. For example, they can take on tasks at home, such as doing their own laundry and washing the dishes. Despite their complaints, they will develop confidence in handling responsibility.

“Praise The Effort In Relation To The Outcome”

Teenagers are going to struggle. If they believe all that matters are results, then poor outcomes are going to be very discouraging. Researcher Carol Dweck suggests that we focus on the process the teenager went through to reach the outcome. For example, we should explore if they exhibited useful strategies to reach a goal. This will help them recognize what they can do better if they did not succeed. In other words, it is not just that you made an effort that is important; how you made the effort matters.

Praise With A Purpose

Speaking of praise, you might have heard that you can never give a child too much of it. While praise is definitely better than discouragement, too much praise can actually lead to a lack of confidence. Why? Because if you praise too much it loses its meaning. Everything is being praised, so a teenager can’t figure out when it is actually deserved. The best thing a parent can do is to be specific in their praise. For example, tell your teen you are proud of them because you saw them spending a lot of time studying for their math exam.

Encourage Realistic Risk Taking

An adolescent cannot develop confidence in themselves if they never try anything new. They must learn that participating in new activities can yield positive outcomes. In addition, struggling with situations teaches them frustration tolerance. Nothing builds confidence like persevering through a difficult situation. On the flip side, don’t set your child up for failure. If you push them into a situation where they are unlikely to succeed, it will reinforce avoidance.

Being insecure is part of being a teenager. As a parent, you just try your best to instill self-confidence in your child. Sometimes, however, they continue to have difficulty. If you have an adolescent who is struggling with confidence, please contact me. Counseling might be the key to assisting your teen in becoming the best version of themselves.