Being a teenage girl is hard! They are growing, their hormones are surging, and life is confusing. Nothing is ever quite the same once they become a teenager.
Technically, they are still children. But the expectation to grow up and act like an adult is thrown at them from every corner. Including by themselves. These changes and pressures can overwhelm them, leading to low self-confidence.
Adults often feel helpless. It is difficult to know how to build self-confidence in a teenager when we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager. We find our daughters unrelatable and challenging.
What if we took a step back? What if we tried to remember what it was like? And what if we chose to meet them where they are? Below are ten tips for building self-confidence in our teenage girls.
1. Give her respect.
We often hear the phrase, “Respect is earned”. This is understandable in adult circles. However, it is difficult to attain as a teenager. Mistakes are often made and are part of the growing process, which makes respect hard to earn.
In order to build self-confidence, she needs to know you have confidence in her. Speak to her like an adult and listen to her like an adult. If you are patronizing and condescending, she will not feel respected.
2. Point out her strengths.
Make it a habit to point out things she’s doing right.
Did she do the dishes without you having to ask? Let her know you noticed and how proud of her you are for taking the initiative. Or, maybe she asked to talk to you and shared a goal she has for her future. Listen carefully and respond in the same way you would if any of your adult friends were telling you about their dreams.
3. Support her in her weaknesses.
We all make mistakes. Remember this when you are talking with her about her struggles. While this is an important lesson to learn, it is hard for her to understand. This is key to building self-confidence in our teenage girls.
She will probably see her mistakes as failures and assume she is failing at life. Reminder her: she can’t be good at everything. Offer her guidance in the areas where she can grow and discuss the importance of learning what her limitations are. These things don’t make her a failure; they make her human.
4. Don’t compare her to others.
Do not compare her to anyone else. She does this to herself already. Instead, point out the things in her that are different. Help her see her value through your eyes.
5. Challenge her to try new things.
How will she know what she’s good at if she doesn’t try new things?
Encourage her to step out of her comfort zone. She could get a part-time job, try out for the school play, or join a band.
Any new extracurricular activity she tries is an opportunity to learn something new about herself, face her fear, and build self-confidence.
6. Be a good example.
Even if she doesn’t act like it, she is watching you. She is learning from how you interact with others, how you respond to your partner, and—most importantly, how you treat yourself.
7. Give her space.
It may be a hard adjustment, but she’s not a little girl anymore. She will need space to step out on her own. She needs to be allowed to make mistakes. This will give her the opportunity to learn how to thrive when you aren’t around.
8. Be available for her.
She needs to know you are there for her, no matter what happens. If she knows you are standing by her side, she can be confident in her ability to face the difficulties of being a teenager.
9. Encourage her to find her tribe.
Finding a connection with others is a basic human need. Encourage your daughter to seek out others who are similar to her. They don’t have to have everything in common. They may have nothing in common, at least on the surface.
All it takes is one simple thing to create a connection and their self-confidence will start to bloom.
10. Be her biggest cheerleader.
No matter what goals or desires she has for her future, be her biggest cheerleader. Show up. She will notice if you are absent, even if you had a fight and she told you not to come. Do it anyway. Not only will this strengthen your bond, but it will also build up her self-worth. She will know she matters.
Anything we can do to help the growing pains of being a teenager is worth it. Nongirly has advice to help her (and you) take on all the challenges this life brings. Keep scrolling through our blog or visit our Facebook to know more!