12 Confidence Killers Your Teen Needs to Stop Doing Today

Because even the smallest tweaks in how your teen approaches life can have a BIG impact on their self-esteem

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 12 Confidence Killers Your Teen Needs to Stop Doing Today

It’s time your teen stops sabotaging their self-esteem once and for all by eliminating these confidence killers in their life…

Pass along these 12 confidence killers your teen needs to stop doing today so they can rid themselves of their insecurities, look in the mirror, and be truly proud and inspired by the person looking back at them. 

12 Confidence Killers Your Teen Needs to Stop Doing Today


1. Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough

“I’ll never make the team, I’m just not good enough.” “I’m going to bomb that test, I’m not smart enough.”  Heads up, teens… it’s time to STOP being so hard on yourself. Whether you realize it or not, you ARE good enough. You have far more control over your life than you realize.

With enough resolve, determination and hard work, you CAN chart the course of your life. Don’t sit back and wait for life to “happen” to you, “make” it happen. 

READ: How to Have a Growth Mindset. Why it Matters and Powerful Strategies That Work.

2. Comparing Yourself to Others

I’ve got news for you, teens. There will always be someone smarter than you, prettier or more handsome than you, and more athletic or talented than you. It’s a fact of life. But there is only ONE you and that’s what makes YOU so freaking special!

Rather than wasting your time comparing yourself to others, focus on becoming the absolute best version of yourself. Focus on your interests, your goals, your dreams, and your life. Comparing yourself to others is no different than looking back over your shoulder during a race. While you’re worried about the person behind you, not only are you slowing yourself down, but when you finally do look forward you’ll find that everyone has already crossed the finish line.

3. Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

I get it. Social media is a huge part of your life. And, there are huge advantages to it. But nothing can offer you a more distorted view of the world than social media AND nothing can shake your confidence more than seeing filtered, unrealistic images on Instagram or Snapchat day in and day out. Like it or not, it’s crushing your self-esteem – one perfectly poised picture at a time. 

Instead, use social media to your advantage. Follow accounts that make you feel inspired, empowered, worthy and beautiful. And, stop following accounts (yes, even friends) that make you feel anything less.

4. Hyper-Focusing on Your Mistakes

Of course, you’re making mistakes. You’re learning, you’re young and you’re trying to become an adult. I’d be more worried if you weren’t making mistakes. Anyway, I’ll bet you didn’t know that mistake-based learning is actually the best way to learn. 

So, although I wouldn’t go out of my way to make colossal mistakes (seriously, you’ll wear your parents the heck out), it’s okay if you make a few along the way. Just don’t waste your time looking in the rearview mirror when you do. Focus instead on learning from it and moving forward. 

5. Constantly Overthinking

You texted the guy you’re crushing on an hour ago and he hasn’t texted you back. “Does this mean he doesn’t like me?” “Maybe he’s texting another girl?” A friend of yours just got denied from a college you applied to and they have a higher GPA. “Does this mean I won’t get in?” What if I don’t get in… what then?” “What am I going to do?”

It’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” or worst-case scenarios, but it’s a waste of precious time and energy. And, more importantly, all that overthinking plays havoc on your self-confidence.

Instead, train your brain to shut down those thoughts. Focus your energy on things you can control and let the rest go. Chances are MOST of what you worry or overthink about works itself out eventually anyway. 

6. Surrounding Yourself with Negative or Toxic Friends

Nothing feels quite as good as having a great group of friends who love and accept you for who you are. On the flip side, nothing can feel worse than having friends who make you feel crummy, exclude you, gossip behind your back, or treat you poorly on their whim. 

Not all friendships are meant to last. Even if you’ve been friends since elementary school. Even if you have tons of amazing memories with a friend. Sometimes, you just have to cut friends loose and move on. No grudges, no bad feelings, no regrets… just slowly pull away for your own self-preservation, and mental and emotional well-being. 

7. Not Trusting the Process

Sometimes, what you really need is a little confidence and faith that things will work out for the best. Case in point, I can’t tell you how many college kids I know who didn’t get into the “college of their dreams,” who “settled” for another college and ended up absolutely loving it. Quite often, things really do have a way of working out if we can just trust the process.

That’s not to say you should give up and let things simply happen. You still have to push forward and keep trying your best. But it’s important to open your heart, become adaptable to change, and realize that sometimes, timing is everything and God may have another plan in mind for you. 

8.  Second-Guessing Yourself

Life is filled with million different decisions. And, when you’re a teenager, you’re pounded with hard, (sometimes life-altering) decisions that have to be made. “Should I apply for that internship?” “Should I go to college?” “Which college?” What should my major be?” “Should I go to trade school?” It’s easy to second-guess yourself. 

But every decision you make is made knowing what you knew at the time. Sure, it’s easy to look back and question a decision, but you shouldn’t. Focus instead on making sound decisions along the way. You won’t get very far in life if you keep looking backward… keep your eyes on the road ahead. 

9. Trying Too Hard to Fit In

Plain and simple… you’re different. You don’t have the same feelings, wishes, likes, dislikes, body type, talent or dreams as anyone else. Embrace that! Stop trying to fit in and just do YOU.

10. Believing You’re Supposed to Have it ALL Figured Out

You’re a teenager. You’re not supposed to have life all figured out yet. Sure, some of your friends might act like they have it all together, but chances are they’re questioning themselves just as much as you are.

Don’t worry if you fumble and fall. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t decided on a college major or even IF you want to go to college. Clarity in life comes with experience. Your clarity will come… just give it time. 

11. Relying Too Heavily on Your Emotions

According to Nick Wignall, clinical psychologist and founder of Master Your Moods, Master Your Life, “You have to treat your emotions like a friend. When they give you solid advice, listen. But be prepared to reject it or ignore it if it’s not good advice.” Your emotions are certainly worthy of your respect and attention, but that doesn’t mean they’re infallible and that you should just follow them blindly. 

“You’ll feel far more confident if you make good decisions. On the other hand, you’ll feel less confident if you make a lot of bad decisions,” says Wignall. So, the better you become at listening to your emotions, but not fully trusting them, the more likely you’ll be to make good decisions in nearly every aspect of your life. 

12. Being Ungrateful

Being grateful is actually good for your health. When you’re grateful you’re happier, calmer, more optimistic and you experience better emotional and mental well-being, which all translates to feeling a whole lot better about yourself. So, give your self-esteem a big boost by taking a moment to look around you and be truly grateful for all the good in your life!

If you enjoyed reading, “12 Confidence Killers You Teen Needs to Stop Doing Today,” you might want to check out these other posts! 

Teach Your Teen to Have a Growth Mindset: Why it Matters and Powerful Strategies that Work

4 Beliefs That May Be Robbing Your Teen Daughter of Her Confidence

Disorganized and Distracted: 6 Tips to Help Your Teen Tackle Homework with Confidence


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Peggy Ashby December 28, 2022 - 12:40 pm

Such a great read! I wrote it all down. My daughter is 11 and I want her to read this in the coming years. Life is so hard and often misunderstood. This has so many great points! Thank you for sharing.

Nancy Reynolds December 28, 2022 - 7:09 pm

I’m SO happy you found the article helpful! What I love is that you’re preparing already for your daughter’s teen years… that’s pretty awesome, mom! You’re so right. Life is hard and often misunderstood, but with you by your daughter’s side, I know she’ll get through her teen and young adult years beautifully!


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