It’s pretty heartbreaking as a parent to watch your happy confident child grow into an insecure teenager who doesn’t feel the least bit assured in his/ her abilities. Let’s be honest here, with perfection being splashed front, right and centre from television ads, to celebrities looking almost perfect and all, it’s a miracle some of us still get to feel great about ourselves. So yeah it’s kind of understandable where your teen is coming from. Thing is, insecurities isn’t all about the physical; as your kids mature, they begin to observe not everyone is the same; some of their counterparts who probably play even harder than they do come out with outstanding results, whereas they soak themselves in their books with little to show… the reality is unending.
While feeling unsure with certain areas of your life is normal, teenagers tdon’t realise this and tend to take it pretty personal, locking their feelings and insecurities and at this period, confiding in anyone, let alone a parent rarely happens because they feel they’ll get judged and you wouldn’t just get it anyway. Don’t lose hope though, you can help you teen regain confidence with these 5 steps;
1. Be a good role model
You’re human so obviously even as a parent you’ve got insecurities as well, that’s certain. Although you may not feel positive 24/7, you should however try as much as possible as a parent not to constantly display your insecurities to your teen. Don’t go ranting every single minute about how your body has changed ever since they came into the picture or how the world is just one hell of a tough place to be for “people like you”. It rubs them negatively and makes them feel insecure about themselves too. Learn to be positive!
2. Validate your teen’s feelings
Each time you hear insecurity in your teen’s voice, don’t pretend like you didn’t hear it or simply shove them off, reassure them. Never minimise the gravity of how they feel or dismiss the opportunity to make them feel better, instead take your teen’s insecurities pretty seriously and make them know they are unique in their own special way. Make your teen know that you can relate with their feelings. When next you hear your teen complaining about how he/she looks don’t pretend like you didn’t hear, assure them.
3. Eliminate judgmental words from your vocabulary
A child feeds on what he hears and as teenagers those words become a part of their vocabulary, a part of them. When you constantly use judgmental words which hinge on insecurities like fat, stupid and all, your teen gets soaked in that negative atmosphere, which would no doubt influence his perception in life, anything less than perfect to them becomes a major cause for concern to them.
4. Set goals and carve a path with your teen
Knowing where you’re headed is crucial to self esteem and as teenagers, it’s definitely an ego booster. Get involved with your teen, if your child appears unsure or insecure about the future you could help clear them see clearer. Help out in academics, make your teen know life can be better with choices he makes. Achieving set goals is a sure way to help your teen become a more confident individual. Get involved.
5. Cultivate your teen’s talents
Discovering new talents and helping your teen excel in his passion and abilities is one way you can help your teen feel better about himself. The knowledge that he can excel in different things help improve his overall sense of self worth. No doubt, his insecurities still remain, but knowing he’s got other things which he can take on pretty nicely is a great way to improve your insecure teen’s confidence. Does your teen love playing football, music, cooking? encourage them.
In all, it is important to understand that your attitude as a parent is crucial to your teen’s sense of self in the long run, don’t take that privilege for granted.