Being a parent to a teenager or two is hard. However, it may not be as hard as actually being a teenager. Technology has made it even harder for teenagers in this generation, adding to already existing struggles. Many teenagers suffer from negative body image, pressure from peers and society, bullying, lack of role models, mental issues, and violence. Other challenges include the body image issues deriving from social media, a problem that is increasingly worrying also among young adults. All of these issues hinder them from feeling confident about themselves and in the long run can even become obstacles in their personal growth.
How Can Parents Help their Teenagers Become More Confident?
1. Promoting Physical Activity
the number one struggle for teens is seeing their body change and most times, not liking what they see. More often than not, this results in low self-esteem, bullying, and sadly depression. Parents can help keep their teenagers from this path by promoting physical activity and heathy eating. It can, however, be difficult because teenagers do not necessarily enjoy responsibilities and commitments like going to the gym. Going to the gym may also subject them to a lot of anxiety, as it is for many adults too. Parents can curb this challenge by promoting home workouts instead: there are many programs and apps like the 30 Day Fitness Challenge for example, that would come in handy. Workouts can also be customized hence ideal for all kinds of people and fitness levels. Also, you could even make it a bonding active it and do it together.
2. Avoiding comparisons
The struggles that come with raising a teenager may cause some parents to hurt their kids unintentionally. It happens when parents compare their kids to others who seem more responsible. While parents may think it’s a good thing to show them good examples of what they should strive to become, comparing kids causes more harm than good. It makes them suffer low self-esteem, feel inadequate, and at times rebel even more. It is crucial to instill in our kids that they are unique and cannot be compared to anyone else.
3. Being a good role model
The easiest way to encourage confidence in teenagers is by setting a good example. It can be done by only showing them that you are confident and comfortable with who you are and do not have to conform to the ways of the society. By doing so, they also learn to accept themselves (especially their changing bodies) hence growing in confidence.
4. Encouraging a balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement
It is more important to prioritize self-acceptance to self-improvement. While it is always good to improve on yourself, teenagers have to learn that improvement always comes after self-acceptance and confidence. Too much focus on improvement can result in low self-esteem and the let down due to unrealistic goals. This means that there has to be a balance between the two, parents can help understand how to achieve this balance.
5. Guiding them through freedom and experimentation
Parents find it hard to grant their teenagers freedom because of fear of what they might get into and that is completely normal. Although, the concept of “guided freedom” is where you as a parent allow them the freedom to experiment in life while keeping tabs on what they are up to. At times, you can step in to provide wisdom, advice and most importantly safety. Showing them that you trust them with freedom makes them feel confident in themselves.
6. Encouraging socialization
Making new friends is not something that comes easy to everyone but it is something that can help tremendously in feeling more confident. Ultimately, teenagers firmly believe that only their peers truly understand the challenges and struggles they are going through. This means that the company of people their same age will help them feel that they are not alone and what they are dealing with is “normal”. Therefore, encouraging them to socialize is very important, obviously always keeping a watchful eye on who they are hanging out with.
The main benefit of confidence at a young age is that it helps prevent issues even in adulthood. These issues include depression, stress, anxiety, and other social challenges that affect adults in their relationships and overall well-being. A confident child, therefore, grows into a confident, well-adjusted, healthy, and sociable adult.