I wish I had known how to raise self-confidence in my kids during their teen years—especially the older ones. I grew in my parenting skills with each child, and I had six. I’m getting better now that I have grandchildren.
Many parents and grandparents don’t realize that they might be reinforcing a negative self-image in their teen.
Often we are so focused on our teenager getting his homework and chores done that our communication becomes lopsided. We find ourselves talking about responsibilities, duties, and what the teen has done wrong instead of encouraging a positive relationship with our teen.
We become roommates and blame it on our teen’s indifference. If your teen has a more positive self-image, he will enjoy the world around home a little more. Here are some things I’ve learned:
Five ways to raise self-confidence in your teen
1. Compliment your teen
This communicates that you value him and you recognize the good work God is doing within him.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
2. Listen and respond with interest when your teen talks to you
A teen needs to know that her thoughts and opinions are important to you, even when you disagree.
3. Be involved in activities that interest your teen
When you are so busy with your own life that you fail to be involved in your teen’s life, you communicate that your teen doesn’t have a life worth being involved in.
Think about it—for the most important people in your life to not be interested in your life is really discouraging.
4. Respond instead of react to your teen
Most teens know which button to push on which parent or grandparent to get a reaction. This tends to make the teen feel more powerful in an insecure world.
The teen subconsciously realizes that he must have a lot of power if he can control an adult so easily. His self-image and self-esteem is built on a faulty concept—“Who I am is determined by how much power I have over other people.” It also communicates insecurity because “the most important people in my life find me difficult.”
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19 NIV).
5. Ask forgiveness of your teen when you have done something wrong
Failure to ask forgiveness communicates that your teen isn’t worth repenting to—he isn’t valuable enough to you to cause you to humble yourself before him.
Yes, I realize that all five of these tips can be applied to children who are not yet teens, but sometimes we forget these skills when our kids hit the years where they are exerting their need for independence and self-identity. You know—those years when we’d like to ship them off to Grandma’s for a few months.
So what do you think? Was this helpful to you? Share with us how you’ve learned to raise self-confidence in your teens.
“Jesus likes it when we share.” -Adelaide, age 3: Pass this along to everybody and their brother. OK, maybe not everybody’s brother . . . but you know, all of your friends would be nice.
Thursday Therapy posts contain various counseling tips I use in biblical counseling. Building a spiritual legacy involves continued growth in our personal lives and relationships. You can find other Thursday Therapy posts here. I hope you find them helpful. Susan Gaddis
Michelle Bolyn has a great article, How to Build Self-confidence in Teens, over at Live Strong. Enjoy!