This post offers 6 ways to help your teen believe in themselves.
Being a teenager is hard. Between the shifts in hormones and mood swings to the battle with acne and relentless academic pressure, it’s easy to see why our kids’ self-esteem can sometimes take a beating.
And, as a parent, I’ve found that there’s absolutely nothing worse than seeing our kids suffer. Knowing their potential, understanding their capabilities, loving them so hard and then watching them question themselves can be agonizing.
But, before you take on the task of helping lift your child up when life gets them down, you might want to grab hold of a shovel and start doing a little digging.
According to studies, self-esteem isn’t quite as clear-cut as most of us might think. In fact, the sphere of influence that self-esteem has on our kids’ lives comes in many layers.
Nearly every aspect of our kids’ lives including school and academic performance, friends and social circles, romantic relationships, family dynamics, athletic ability, creative abilities, their appearance and so on, holds the power to impact their confidence and self-esteem. The trick is to find out which of those areas are dragging our kids down and hone in on ways to build that area of their lives back up.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses. Not every kid can be the star football player, land the lead in the school play, be valedictorian or end up dating the cutest, most popular guy or girl in school.
True confidence comes when our kids begin to embrace their strengths, accept their weaknesses and focus on those areas of weakness that are affecting their self-worth the most.
To help your teen stand strong and believe in themselves, pass along these six tips that hold the power to boost their confidence and build their self-esteem.
Surround Yourself with Positive, Like-Minded Kids
When you’re a teenager, so often your opinions and views of yourself are predicated on what others think of you, which is exactly why it’s important to surround yourself with kids you can relate to, who think you’re totally awesome and who want to be around you.
Surround yourself with uplifting, positive people who laugh with you, not at you, talk to you, not behind you and who build you up, not tear you down. If you haven’t found your tribe, keep looking.
Put yourself out there, talk to other kids as much as possible, join a club or try a new sport. Above all, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Find a crowd that brings out the best in you.
Avoid the Comparison Game
You’ve heard it a million times before, but if you’re serious about building your self-worth and truly believing in yourself, it’s time to put these words into action… stop comparing yourself to others.
Whether you need to walk away from judgy friends who make you feel inferior or take a break from Instagram or Snapchat for a while, separate yourself from anything or anyone who makes you question who you are, your abilities or your appearance. There’s always going to be that girl you envy because she has awesome hair or that guy who doesn’t even seem to try and still lands an “A” in the class. Rather than dwell on their strengths, dwell on your own. Focus on your abilities, your qualities, and your strengths and stop comparing yourself to the world around you.
Set Goals that Matter
The next time you’re feeling down about yourself, pick up a piece of paper and write down exactly what’s making you feel that way. Whether it’s a breakup with your boyfriend or girlfriend, a crummy grade despite how hard you studied or the fact that you’re frustrated because you’ve put on a few pounds in the last few months, put it on paper so you can see it in black and white.
Once you begin to keep a “running tab” of areas in your life that are creating havoc on your self-esteem, you can then strategize a plan to take action, set realistic, attainable goals and begin to make potential changes in your life. Of course, not everything in your life is changeable. But, you might be surprised to see how many things actually are.
Keep Life in Perspective
Everyone has bad days. No matter how much we think we have it all figured out, life has a way of throwing us curve balls every now and then. But, a bad day isn’t a bad week, or a bad month or a bad life… it’s simply a bad day. Even if you didn’t get invited to that party you were dying to go to, you ended up with a crummy score on your ACT, didn’t get the job you really wanted or you didn’t make the team, keep it in perspective.
Not everything is going to work out. Not everything is going to go your way. And, that’s okay. The sooner you realize that life requires us to be flexible and fluid, the easier it will be to face those tough days when things don’t work out the way you had hoped.
Cut Yourself a Little Slack
Every single day you are accomplishing things, making headway and moving forward. But, sometimes, when you’re in the thick of life it can be hard to recognize and appreciate our progress.
Think about it, did you ace that test in math yesterday? Did you strike up a conversation with that cute guy at the lunch table? Did you muster up the courage to apply for that job or scholarship? Whatever you do, don’t forget to give yourself a little credit for everything you do and, more importantly, don’t forget to cut yourself a little slack when you fall short. You’re fully capable, but you are human, which means you’ll have wins and losses – everyone does.
Recognize Your Value
Despite the things in your life that you’d like to tweak or improve, recognizing first that you’re already totally awesome will go a long way in helping you believe in yourself. Just remember how much progress you’ve made in your life so far, and the many accomplishments you have under your belt since last year, last month or even last week. Just accept yourself for who you are. Every perfectly imperfect flaw is what makes you special, valuable and unique – slow down for a moment to embrace them!
Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let the limitation of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.
~ Roy T. Bennet