This is a guest post by Alyssa Jacobs.
Teenage years are a transitional period in a young man or woman’s life that can be extremely confusing. Most teenagers are looking to latch on to something and find some common ground. Our youth are easily influenced and motivated to do things from peers, parents, coaches and society. Some of these things may not always be right so it is important not only to give good choices to our children, but also establish confidence.
The first step to building your teen’s confidence is to reassess your confidence. Teens sponge in everything that you do. If you are to contradict yourself, they are going to remember it. Instead of being stubborn, maybe now is the time to grow some confidence in yourself and aim for self improvement. This can be anything: the way you walk, talk, workout, or treat your professional life. Aim for success and your teen will latch on to that as well.
Heal your past and use that to become a better parent. In some cases, it is more important to be a teacher than a parent. Fill them in with work, your goals, and help them to accomplish them. Another thing you might try is showing your teen something you are good at. If you are a guitar player, play the latest hit! You teens will love this, and it will show them they can do great things as well.
The next step to building confidence in your teen is being realistic. Let your teen grow naturally and don’t force things upon them that they might not want to do. Not every kid is going to graduate from Harvard. Even if they do exactly what you say, they lack self confidence and are only doing things to please you.
Let your teens have dreams. Keep in mind that a lot can change in a year. If your teen aspires to be a professional skateboarder, let them do so. However, let them know that school comes first. If they are going to be a professional skateboarder, they are going to be the smartest one out there. So then, if skateboarding is a phase, or no longer an option, they have other alternatives. Backing your teen’s decisions, as long as they are morally good, develops self confidence and trust between parent and child.
Maybe the most important step to enabling confidence in your teen is setting them up to succeed. Although this may seem like a difficult, daunting task, the rewards for your teen and your family are immeasurable. Be involved in their schools and programmes. This builds a sense of community and accomplishment with each new school year, as different goals are completed. Knowledge is contagious. The more your teen knows, or is involved with, the more confidence they will gain. This is ultimately accomplished by you being involved with all of your teen’s extracurricular activities.
The only thing you want to enable in your teenager is confidence. The teenage years are some of the most confusing times for individuals. Things like peer pressure, drugs, sex, hormones, acne, and tough choices all come in at a time when we are most vulnerable. The most important thing parents can do is give their teens the confidence to make the right choices, and treat them as young adults.