Self-confidence is often a major hurdle for teens because they live in a world where they long to be accepted by their peers. Some end up turning to unhealthy coping methods, like substance abuse and bullying, to feel a sense of control. Helping your son build his confidence will help him develop resilience and the ability to bounce back from difficult situations, which is a positive skill he will use his entire life. There are things you can do to help your child increase his self-esteem and be ready to handle day to day challenges.
Look For Success – Encourage your teen to do practical things that will help him build his skills, and ultimately, his confidence. While you should encourage him to try new things, keeping him on target with the things he is already successful at will help him deal with other stumbling blocks along the way.
Let Him Do It – It is often a habit for parents to take things out of their child’s hands in order to make things a little easier for him, but this can be counterproductive. He needs to have confidence in his own skills. Wait until he has attempted something and then asks for help before you step in.
Give Him Opportunities – Trying a variety of things can help teach individuals what their strengths and weaknesses are and that it is okay to be more proficient at some things than others.
Be Supportive – It is easier for teens to try and potentially fail when they know that they have a support team backing them up. Let him know that you are there to support him regardless of his level of success. Back up your words with actions, by making it possible for him to get extra help or training in his endeavors whenever possible. Encourage him to try again when he fails.
Practice Good Social Skills – Low self-esteem for teens is often based in the idea that people will react negatively to their actions, appearance or personality traits. Help your teen practice handling different social situations, so he has the confidence of knowing how he will handle scenarios ahead of time.
Model Confidence – Your teen is watching you more than you think. It is important for you to show him how to develop his own self-esteem by nurturing yours. This may mean doing some work on your part if there are areas where you feel deficient, but it can be one of the best examples you can show your son.
Praise His Efforts Sincerely – While it is tempting to try to bolster up your teen’s confidence by praising every little thing, he will soon lose faith in either your ability to be sincere or his need to try harder. Find something genuine to praise and encourage about the situation, even if the end result wasn’t what was hoped for. For instance, “You didn’t do as well as you wanted to on that test and you should study a little harder on the next one, but I am proud of how much improvement you showed in equations. I think you might be getting the hang of them.”
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