The teenage years are filled with change and uncertainty, and your daughter may struggle to find the confidence and self-esteem to deal with it all. Too often, teen girls worry about not doing well or embarrassing themselves. As a parent, you can take action to help your daughter develop the confidence they need
Help Them Avoid Negative Self-Talk
Lack of confidence is often worsened by pessimistic thinking or negative self-talk. When your daughter hears criticisms or hurtful comments, she may internalize the negativity and express herself in similar defeatist way
To help eliminate the self-talk, empathizing with her may be the first step. Assure her that everyone feels discouraged or anxious now and then. Then, show your daughter how to empower herself and emphasize the positive. Advise her to replace the “I can’ts” with the “I cans.”
Teach Them to Advocate for Themselves
As your teenager approaches adulthood, she will encounter more circumstances where she will want to assert herself. For instance, she may want to ask a teacher for a deadline extension or tell a classmate to stop bullying behavior. In these cases, your daughter will need guidance and coaching in advocating for herself effectively.
First, teach your daughter to fully understand the situation and identify her goals. What outcome does she want to achieve? Then, encourage her to take time to sort out her feelings. It’s important to approach another person calmly; excessive feelings of anger, hurt, or resentment will only work against her goals. Then, show your daughter how to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements so she doesn’t seem accusatory. Role-playing or rehearsing the encounter will help her build confidence.
Let Them Fail
On the other hand, there will be times when you should let your daughter fail. If you intervene or rescue her every time, she won’t learn to trust her own abilities. Yet, it’s important to stress to your daughter that she is not a failure; she just didn’t succeed this time. Separating the act from the person is essential in maintaining self-esteem.
Help your daughter handle failure by praising her efforts rather than the results. Let her know that trying and failing is better than not trying at all, and help her identify ways to accomplish a better outcome on the next attempt. Through this, she will develop persistence and resilience, as well as strategies for coping with frustration.
Help Them Pick New Outfits
Your teenage daughter probably knows more about the latest fashions than you do. At the same time, she will want to develop her own unique way of dressing. You may not be quite ready to give her money and send her into the store by herself, but it’s a good idea to let her choose her own outfits.
Shopping together is not only a great bonding activity, it also helps your teen develop confidence as she selects clothes that she can feel and look good in. While she learns to stay within a budget, you can guide her in picking versatile pieces that can be used for a variety of occasions. For example, denim skirts are great for school or nights out and help instill confidence for your daughter.
Give them Responsibility
Your teen’s confidence will soar when she learns to handle adult responsibilities. Since she was a young child, you’ve probably been asking your daughter to do certain chores like clean her room or do the dishes. But taking responsibility for something means doing things without being asked first.
Sit down with your daughter and discuss how she will contribute to the household and family, and assign her chores to be responsible for. Keep in mind a teenager may be easily distracted or even rebellious. In these cases, consider external motivations, such as creating a checklist or instituting a reward system.
Ask their Opinion
Asking your daughter for her opinion on everyday matters can help her develop the confidence to make important decisions when the time comes. When you ask if she likes your new sweater or if she thinks the soup you’re making tastes good, you’re showing your daughter that you value and respect her feelings and preferences.
You may also give her choices on matters that affect the entire family, such as what to have for dinner, where to go on vacation, or how to solve a household problem. As she gives input and receives feedback, she will learn to assert herself, explain her ideas, and consider the needs of others.
During her teen years, your daughter will be exploring her identity, and expressing herself is an important way to do that. You may not like your daughter’s hairstyle, the way she decorates her room, or the music she listens to, but it’s important to let her indulge her own interests and style, within reason.
You can also encourage your daughter to participate in organized activities that allow her to “try on” new ways to express herself. Some examples would be joining a chorus, taking an art class, or joining a computer coding club. It may take a few tries before your daughter finds her niche, but she will, with your support.
You are more important as a role model for your daughter than you might think. Consciously or unconsciously, she looks to you to learn effective ways for dealing with life and interacting with other people. If you practice confidence in your own life, your daughter will learn from it.
That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. When your daughter sees you making mistakes, she will learn how you handle failure and bounce back from it. As you model a positive attitude during difficult times, your teen will see that optimism and determination are important qualities.
All parents want their daughters to grow up to be healthy, happy, and confident adults. Parents play a crucial role in helping their teens develop the self-esteem and poise necessary to deal with both failure and success.
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