Who else is experiencing parenting a teen for the first time? Well, that’s where I am right now and the attitude is coming in hot! Jokes aside, this is a major shift from what we’ve known for the past 14 years. “Welcome to Teen Life”, our experienced friends tell us. First question, “How long does this last?” Hahha
One thing I know is that behind all the attitude, the bedroom door constantly being closed and the refusing to hang out with mom and dad theres a kid trying to navigate this new phase too. It’s easy to get caught up with all the peer pressure that comes with being a teenager.
Self-esteem and self-confidence can easily be the victim of comparison to peers or others. It can be difficult for teens to feel successful or feel good about themselves when their environment is a world of social media with everyone trying to display the perfect life, EVERYDAY.
As a parent, you can help your teen develop a sense of their self-worth, rather than letting the people around them influence them. A teen who feels a sense of belonging, security and good health will be a winner no matter what happens. How can you help your teen develop a sense of self-worth? Try these few tactics.
- Love them unconditionally. Unconditional love let’s your child build their sense of self-worth on a solid foundation, not in competition with others. Ensure your teen can tell that your love does not depend on other factors, like grades, performance in sports, or popularity. A teen that feels that you only love them when they get good grades or win a baseball game may feel inadequate or worthless if they fail. Love them for who they are, not for what they can do for you. That doesn’t also mean you can’t have disagreements with your teenager, stress that you love them no matter what.
2. Time to make their own choices (age appropriate)
Rather than push your agenda on your teenager, give them all the support they need with their choices. If your teenager chooses to participate in dance, sports, or a club, support them. Instead of shaming them for not pursuing a particular path (and telling them you’re disappointed), help them find a course that better suits them. Parents have a significant influence on their children. So when parents force their teen to pursue a specific path, it places so much pressure on them and can cause them anxiety. But, with unconditional love and support, teens will be free to make good choices for themselves.
3. Growth Mindset
Welcome a growth mindset rather than a fixed one in the home. Growth mindsets encourage teens to be open to new challenges, whether they’re learning a language, trying a new sport, or tackling a complicated math problem. Embracing a growth mindset is healthier for your teens’ mental health than a fixed mindset. Many children have fixed mindsets when it comes to their abilities. That means they believe their test scores and grades tell them everything they need to know but, if your teen has a growth mindset, they learn that they can constantly improve and continue to grow in confidence and it’s not just about a grade or test scores achieved in a school environment.
4. Teach them to be Assertive.
Teens have to learn to take charge of their lives, set boundaries, talk to others respectfully, and speak up for themselves. That can be difficult for parents, but ultimately, it benefits the teen in the long run. You can teach assertiveness by practicing it yourself, setting clear rules, and saying no to your teen when they ask for something unreasonable. When they learn such skills early, they’ll apply them to other situations. Not only will they speak up for themselves when people treat them poorly, but they’ll also be able to stand up for others when they need a shoulder.
5. Become a model of Confidence.
One of the most important things parents can do early on is instilling in their children a belief in themselves. By believing in your teen and reminding them that they can achieve great things, you help build confidence. Confidence is an essential trait for your teen to develop because it’s important to be able to stand on their own two feet and have confidence in themselves. So, maybe our society isn’t perfect but we can still do everything in our power to make it better for the next generation.
By Danny Reyes