Boost Your Teenager’s Confidence

How to have a positive impact on your kids

By The Weekly | October 6, 2017

Praise Them

It sounds so simple, but think about it. How often do you nag your teen to pick up their wet towels from the floor or put the laundry in the basket? And how often do you take the time to say “good job, buddy” or even just “thanks” for helping out. The fact is, they’re hyper-sensitive to both criticism and praise — just like we were at their age — but you know what helps? When they feel valued and appreciated. So next time they do something right, something helpful or something good, tell them so. You might only get a grunt in response, but deep down they’re smiling. And remember, it’s important to praise their effort, not just their achievements.

Eat Meals Together

Teenagers excel at all things emoji-based but they can sometimes struggle with face-to-face interactions, particularly with adults. Family meal times are a good way to encourage teens to flex their social skills away from their phones. Start a “no phones at the table” policy and ask your teen about their day (without sounding like you’re interrogating them!) or talk about something you know they feel strongly about — such as their favourite sports team, a new movie or a crazy piece of news. Encourage engagement by maintaining eye contact — something we’re all too guilty of avoiding when glued to our phones — and ask their opinion. Pretty soon talking, not texting, will become the dinnertime norm.

Criticise Constructively

Teenagers inevitably make mistakes — it’s part of growing up — but try to make your disciplinarian comments constructive where possible. Sure, it will use all of your willpower not to say “I told you so” at times, but now isn’t the time to lecture them on what they should have done or worse, what you would have done. Teens learn how to handle stress from you, so it’s important to deal with setbacks constructively. Adopt a “what’s done is done” attitude and help them come up with a solution-based action plan. When they’re feeling less vulnerable, you can have discussions about disappointment and expecting more from them. And, whatever you do, avoid labeling them as stupid or reprimanding them in front of others. Both are an instant dent to your teen’s ego.

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