The majority of teenagers today struggle with low self-confidence levels due to a diverse range of factors like changing bodies, peer pressure, and success in academics and/or sports. It is wrong to blame the tweens for their low self-confidence as the teenagers of today are confronted with many tough issues that include how they look, their behavior in public, their performance in school, and who they choose as friends.
Talking to Tweens about Self Confidence
If you notice that your tween’s self-confidence is going downhill then, as a parent, you should help your child to be as successful as possible especially when it boils down to self-confidence. Every parent wants his child to grow into a confident and responsible adult who will excel in all departments of life. But that is easier said than done. Many tweens struggle hard to get accepted – by themselves and by the society in which he lives. Parents do play a vital role in talking to tweens about building self-confidence. Here are a few essential tips –
Encourage the tween to value his skills
It is commonly believed and seen that when tweens value the activities they do well, they tend to like themselves more. One can build self-confidence just by emphasizing the importance of the talents of the tween. For example, your family might consider academics to be more important than any kind of sports. However, your tween excels in basketball but is just average in studies. This can lead to a very low self-confidence because he would think that he is not good something which matters. So one needs to make that extra skill count! There is no need to put academics on the back burner just to encourage sports but one can surely put more importance on the latter to build self-confidence in his tween. Believe it or not, we cannot choose the domains win which our child will excel but we can surely accept what he does well and praise him for his efforts.
Listen and do pay attention
The greatest gift that any parent can give to his child is plentiful time and undivided attention. This becomes all the truer when you are trying to build the self-confidence level in your tween. Listening is also very important and experts believe that only 3 min of patient listening is better than 3 hours of just being together. When you concentrate on listening you can focus on what your tween is trying to say. When you are just a good listener, you are not offering any advice, making criticisms, or passing on judgments; you are just listening to what your tween has to say. From time to time you must restate his/her comments so that he understands that you are listening to him/her. If your tween is talking about his school and friends, you must be an avid listener although you may not find interest in everything he says. But when you show that you are listening, it helps to build his self-confidence levels. Regular listening sessions will make your child feel valued.
Encourage more sources of support
Listening sessions with parents are invaluable when it comes to increasing the confidence level of teens but at times they need more support and validation. It is also healthy for your tween to rely on someone else besides himself. So the job of a parent is to support and encourage meaningful relationships in the life of your tween. Ideally, such relationships should be adult ones like a teacher or a coach but peer relationships also do the trick sometimes. If all these are not helpful enough then formal mentoring programs can be considered.
Let them fail
Allowing your child to try and fail is very important for building the self-confidence level of your tween. Now, we all know that this sounds a bit counter-intuitive but this is a fact! People do gain a lot of self-confidence when they take on new challenges and succeed in them. When you are discouraging failure, you are discouraging your tween to try out new things and this can seriously affect his self-confidence level. Tweens have a habit of learning all about coping skills and resilience when they face problematic situations. The best part is that when they reach the goal which they had been seeking, they feel a sense of capability and genuine ownership.
Be a good model
A tween tends to learn all about healthy self-esteem and confidence when they find adults around them displaying a similarly high degree of self-esteem. So in the light of this statement, a parent must make minimum comments that tend to belittle himself. Always make it a point to let your child know that he is wonderful and he should learn more by your actions than by words. So when you raise your self-confidence level, it can directly benefit your child. This is a long process but in the long run, there will be an increase in the confidence level of your tween.