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9 Ways to Help Your Teen Feel More Confident About Their Worries

Teenagers, just like adults, are quite prone to worrying. The older you get, the bigger the world becomes. So you see more, hear more, and your responsibilities grow. Navigating peer relationships can bring unique challenges, and self-esteem is a constant battle. Alongside all the positive things in life, teens are going through a massive brain re-wiring that takes a long time and demands a high level of energy. They may seem a bit sullen or even insolent at times, but as their parent, you have to respect the process. If your teen seems to carry a lot on their shoulders and you’re looking for ways to help, here are nine responses to try to boost their confidence and bring them some balance. 

9 Ways to Help Your Teen Feel More Confident About Their Worries

Show Them You Respect Them

Often, caregivers struggle with this one. However, if you can manage to find a way to show your teen you do actually respect their world views, thoughts, and feelings, and promote healthy discussion in your household, you will do wonders for their development. Respect is a mutual thing, after all, and surely the ultimate goal is to teach them how to respect themselves so that when they enter their own, autonomous relationships later in life, whether that is within a work setting or a romantic one, they will have a voice and be able to advocate from their inner confidence and secure attachment. You can gift this to them, and you absolutely should strive to do so. 

Listen to Their Concerns

A big part of any relationship, regardless of the dynamic, is being available to listen. Listening takes practice, but it is a worthwhile skill to have. More often than not, your teen doesn’t want a solution or even your opinion. They want an ear to hear them and to feel seen. When you do that for people, their self-worth is validated and this is an organic way to boost confidence. It doesn’t matter how trivial the worry or gossip seems to be, if you listen, empathize and validate, these are important behaviours to model. 

Provide Answers About Health Concerns

There are lots of questions a parent has to face about bodies and health from their teenagers. As with anything, it is always best to have an honest approach when questions are asked. With an honest narrative, teens get the facts rather than the fiction. Teenagers armed with knowledge will be empowered to make better choices about their physical health and body. So, whether it is looking for an easy solution for teenagers stressed about their oral health, or teaching them how to avoid unwanted pregnancies, this is somewhere you really have to step up as a caregiver. Parents can engage with this in a positive way, and dive into topics that may not have ever been on the table for their generation so that the next ones along are better able to look after themselves without shame or guilt attached. 

Model Confidence

One of the most impactful things you can do in a parental role is to model confidence in areas where your teen may be lacking it. Modeling confidence looks like a lot of different actions:

  • Being body positive and stepping away from self-deprecation, especially within earshot of your teen. 
  • Taking ownership and pride in your sense of style and appearance.
  • Openly discussing mental health and active management solutions. 

Constantly Narrate Their Strengths

Working on the assumption that you understand the concept of cheerleading, this is what you must be for your teen. Even if they say they hate you and tell you to shut up, never stop telling them how amazing you think they are. Tell them every day and do it authentically because the strengths you see inside of them are the things they need reminding of in their darkest hour. Whether they want to admit it or not, they depend on you more than they will ever admit at this age. They are still your biggest fan, and though there is the strain at a time, it’s all the grand scheme of things. Never stop being their cheerleader. 

Teach Resilience

You can’t teach resilience to a teen by pushing them into the pool and telling them to swim. It is, of course, more complex than that. Resilience is instilled as a value from the very first day they are born. It is a feeling that grows over the course of their life through their responses, safe adults around them, and what they see in the world vs. their personal story. Resilience is not always intuitive, but building fortitude for if and when times get a little tough is a core necessity for all human beings. When you help your teen feel more resilient, there will be an inevitable, organic knock-on effect of a boosted confidence level. 

Move Away from Critique-Style Parenting Choices

Of course, there can only ever be limited resilience if you choose to go down the critical parenting route. Thankfully, the world seems to be moving away from this, and rightly so. The way the human brain develops is largely influenced by the first three years of their life and the consequential years in childhood and teen times. If, throughout these days, they have a constant critical voice in close proximity the only natural consequence of this is that they will develop a critical voice in their head. They will hyperfocus on perfectionism and are more likely to develop eating disorders, depression, self-harming tendencies, and dysfunctional relationships. Moving away from constant criticism looks like this:

  • Choosing to take ten deep breaths in the corner instead of shouting because they haven’t put their dishes away again. 
  • Starting the day with a good morning and a positive conversation. Never a conflict or criticism. 
  • Just don’t be mean, it really is that simple. It is more about your hangups than anything to do with ‘helping’ them, so don’t do it. 

Broaden Their Horizons and Challenge Them

One of the easiest ways to build confidence and calm their worries is to broaden their horizons, challenge them into trying new things and encourage them to have different experiences. This is easier to do when children are little because everything is new to them. By the time the teenage years come around, they will have a well developed sense of self, in terms of what they do like to do and what they are not willing to try. Your role is to encourage exploration while respecting boundaries. Some things they might absolutely never give the time of day to, but there might be an interesting thing that they take with them forever. You never know until you open that door for them. 

Find a Balance Between Freedom, Friendship, and Falling Outs

Parenting is all about striking a balance between what you have to do to keep your children safe, and what you want to do to build an authentic relationship with them. There will always be a conflict to work through, but confidence comes from a strong lead and a positive communication model. 

Helping your teen find confidence in the face of many worries can feel like a challenge for any parent or caregiver. However, find peace in knowing you can guide and support with nurture and kindness. What they need is a strong support network and tools to find the answers for themselves as they step into adulthood. 

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