(Video in German with 🇺🇸🇧🇷🇵🇾 subtitles👍)
Two weeks ago I put out a video asking parents what they think were important skills to learn for their children and teens. Their responses ranged from self-responsibility, finding a circle of friends, motivation and self-confidence.
Since self-confidence and motivation go hand in hand, I decided to take up the topic of self-confidence for this week’s blog post. Thank you parents who sent me some input. Very valuable!
Why do our children change?
Many children always seemed active and curious. When suddenly they hit puberty, everything changes. Those changes are physical as well as emotional.
I noticed it especially in school with children at the age of 10 who were still engaged and outspoken, and just one or two years later completely closed up. We’re talking no self-confidence, distorted body image in girls who become totally introverted, tantrums in boys who are often having trouble controlling their emotions. But of course mood swings and insecurities are common with all of them.
The good news
The good news is, you can help your teen. They can gain self-confidence and benefit from communication strategies you apply as a parent, as well as from your support to start a new hobby and get better at school.
Generally, developing confidence is necessary to help teens achieve their goals, form better relationships, and become more resilient to challenges. Adolescents with higher self-confidence are more likely to withstand group pressure, make wiser decisions, and recover more quickly from failure. Confidence gives a teenager the ability to face life, its challenges and insecurities, and even cope with life’s disappointments, the ups and downs, in a better and healthier way.
So how can we help young people to become more self-confident from an early age?
I grouped this post into three areas, that you can easily apply at your home, with your family or just with your child.
Encouraging self-improvement and making room for mistakes
While “mistake” is a rather negative term, “learning how to take chances” sounds more suitable. Let’s stay positive and encouraging!
Let’s look at an example. Someone scored a bad grade at Math or started soccer practice and the first class just went terribly. So they decide they’ll never be good at it. Makes sense? To your child it might.
Teens who struggle to master a skill may decide they are complete failures. A teenager who is struggling at Math may decide that they’re not smart. Or a teenager who doesn’t make the soccer team might decide they’ll never be good at the sport.
There is a healthy balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement.
So show your teen that it’s possible to accept mistakes while striving to be better. Instead of them labeling themselves “stupid,” help your teen realize that despite difficulties, they can still strive to be better.
To encourage your teen’s self-improvement, help them identify their strengths and weaknesses. You can list them together or try something more creative, like drawing a tree, and each of its branches carries another trait. Both positive and negative.
Then involve them in goal-setting and problem-solving so they can work on improvements in areas where they are struggling. Make sure the goals you set are achievable and under your control, and then map out how you plan to achieve those goals.
How do you talk to your child when they experience failure?
Here, leading a constructive dialog is very important. Mistakes and setbacks can destroy the sense of self-esteem and destroy a child’s confidence.
Your voice is essential in these situations. When you criticize or panic, you’re emphasizing a rigid mindset and basically sending the message that that bump is a sign that there’s no hope for improvement in the future.
Instead, take a deep breath and open up the conversation with your teen.
Ask questions like:
What was the moment when things got out of hand?
What did you learn from this situation?
How will you react differently the next time it happens to you?
When teens view failure as a learning experience, they can overcome obstacles on their way.
Helping them acquire new and missing skills
When a girl is told in school, she’s not good with computers, what will she believe all her life? Or a boy is told in language class that boys are just not talented at languages and they should rather do math…
Adolescence is a time of tremendous brain growth, but it can also highlight areas where our children— physically, academically, socially, or emotionally — are struggling more than when they were younger.
These new struggles can lead to negative self-esteem. If you spot a problem area or challenge, encourage your child to see it as an opportunity to grow, learn, and broaden their interests and skills.
Where do you start?
Look for ways to build on things your teen is already passionate about and explore ways they can use those situations to practice new skills. Maybe they like singing or drawing. Encourage them to sign up for extra-curricular activities or take a private singing class.
Embrace a growth mentality in your home.
At dinner, ask them what they like doing in their free time, or what they would like to be better at. Many teenagers are stuck in a “fixed mindset” about who they are or what they can or cannot achieve, and often feel unsure of how to move forward.
Your child’s skills aren’t stuck but flexible and ready to grow!
Praising effort rather than result
Instead of praising your teen for getting a good grade on an exam, praise them for all the work they’ve put in. Instead of saying, “Well done for getting those five points in the game,” say, “All the practice you put in paid off.” Show them that making an effort is important, and that it’s okay if they don’t always succeed.
Your teen can control their efforts, but they can’t always control the outcome. It’s important to acknowledge their energy and dedication so they don’t think that they only deserve praise when they succeed.
Assertiveness for teens?
This goes hand in hand with teaching your child assertiveness.
Adolescents need to know how to stand up for themselves in an appropriate way. A confident teen will be able to ask for help when they don’t understand something in class.
Additionally, a teen who can speak up is also less likely to be mistreated by their peers. They will speak for themselves if they don’t like how they are being treated and they can ask directly for what they need.
To teach your teen to be assertive, start by talking about the difference between assertive and aggressive. Let them know that assertiveness means standing up for yourself in a strong and confident voice without being rude or yelling at other people.
Other ways to teach assertiveness are to give them the power to make decisions and affirm that they have rights – specifically the right to say No to anything that makes them uncomfortable. Give them ample opportunities to practice assertiveness at home by giving them choices and the freedom to say no to things they don’t want to do.
Personally I don’t think that becoming a confident person always requires rebellion. It’s also important to know what hard work means and that sometimes you have to complete unpleasant tasks in order to achieve something in life.
However, as long as you have principles for yourself and know what you stand for, know your strengths, ambitions and goals, you are on the best path to self-confidence.
Do you think your teen is suffering from low self-esteem or anxiety?
You as the mom can make a huge difference in your child’s life by using suitable life coaching techniques for teens.
If you’re unsure if coaching is the right thing for you, I recommend the DIY Coaching Starter Kit for Moms of Teens! It’s a free one-hour-course that will give you the opportunity to try basic coaching techniques by yourself.
Sign up here ➡️ http://learnallover.com/free-masterclass
I hope this blog post brings you joy and helps you make a difference in your teen’s life already today!
P.S.: Connect with me on social media to get regular coaching tips!