Every parent wants their teenager to know their own worth and to feel confident in who they are and what they like. However, the teen years are full of obstacles to a good self-esteem, and it’s all parents can do to keep their teenagers away from depression, anxiety, peer pressure and more. One of the best ways that teenagers can successfully navigate through adolescence is if they have a strong sense of self, and are happy with their own identity.
Here are 3 ways that parents can help their teenagers build their own identity:
1. Set up opportunities for achievements.
Teens don’t have to be the captain of the sports team or the class president to have achievements. Setting and reaching goals can happen in plenty of ways. However, teens won’t often start their own search for things to do and activities to participate in, so parents need to give them a nudge. Examples of finding activities where teens can feel a sense of accomplishment include playing an instrument, taking an art class, doing well in a job, developing a new talent, and getting good grades. There are plenty of different things to do and as teens explore them, they’ll develop a strong sense of self and discover what they are good at in life.
2. Give them increased responsibility.
Teenagers need to feel proud of themselves, and a lot of that can be accomplished as they take on more responsibility. Instead of parents doing everything for their teens, it’s a good idea to step back and let them handle some of the day-to-day responsibilities. Examples of this might include setting up doctor’s appointments, having a bank account, getting the oil changed in the car, taking care of the yard, and having a job. As teens feel more and more independent, their identity as a thinking, responsible citizen will solidify.
3. Help them develop internal standards.
Nobody is happy when they try to live to please everyone else. Teenagers are often swayed by peer pressure, but those with lots of self-confidence in themselves and their abilities can stand up to others and do what is best for themselves. Once teens learn that they can’t please everyone, and that trying to do so will only hurt themselves, they can work on developing their own moral code and live accordingly. It’s also best if they explore their own interests and passions rather than follow the crowd. Soon, they’ll find other people who understand them and accept them for who they are and what they stand for.
The best way for teens to develop a strong sense of self and build their own identity is for them to respect who they are, what their background and heritage is, and what they want for the future. Not only will such a positive attitude help them navigate through the challenges of adolescence, but it will build a strong foundation to support them well into adulthood.