Your teenage son is confronted with numerous challenges that can put his confidence and self-esteem to the test. These issues range from dealing with physical changes to being unconsciously pressured to conform to gender stereotypes. When these concerns are not dealt with early on, your teen may feel inadequate and unsure of himself. That is why you should do everything you can to help your child to believe more in himself and to develop lifelong confidence.
If you raise your son to be more confident, he will be better equipped to cope with difficult situations, recover from setbacks, and handle peer pressure. There is also a good chance that he will become optimistic, enthusiastic, strong-willed, and determined. If you want to build confidence in your child, consider the strategies below.
Encourage Good Hygiene and Self-Care
Teens go through a lot of physical, mental, and emotional changes. This includes hormonal level changes that can lead to increased sweating, oily skin, acne, and other things that can hurt their self-esteem. Fortunately, many of these unpleasant physical changes can be addressed by practicing proper personal hygiene habits.
Encourage your teen to take daily showers and use antiperspirant products to prevent body odors. You may also want to buy antimicrobial socks for men to help keep foot odors at bay. Remember that boys tend to sweat more because of the higher levels of testosterone in their body. The last thing you want is for him to get teased in the locker room because of smelly feet.
It is also essential for your teen to learn oral hygiene, proper shaving, and nail care so that he feels fresh and clean all the time. When your son feels and looks good, he will be more confident to face and mingle with his peers and other people.
Focus on Self-Improvement
Teenage boys often compare themselves to other boys. Many of them compete to be the tallest, strongest, most athletic, and so on. Protect your son from getting into such unhealthy competition by helping him appreciate his unique qualities.
Emphasize that people have different skills and abilities, and that they develop at different paces. More importantly, teach him that failing at something does not mean he is incompetent. Stress that he just needs to exert more time and effort to improve in areas where he struggles.
During family TV nights, perhaps you can watch movies that highlight characters who accomplished extraordinary things through grit and hard work. Use these stories as a jumping-off point to discuss how anybody can achieve their goals if they are willing to put in work. You can also allow him to figure things out on his own so he can learn and develop. It doesn’t even have to be something big all the time. Letting him help around the garage or in preparing the family’s meals can be a good start. Keep in mind that every little accomplishment can help boost self-esteem.
Make It a Habit to Praise Efforts Instead of Results
Although showering your teen with praises when he does something well can raise his spirits, there’s an even better approach. Instead of recognizing and admiring the outcome, try to focus on the effort he exerted. For example, if your son scored the winning shot in a basketball game, say: “Wow! All that extra practice time has been paying off.” That way, you can teach him that succeeding or winning is not the be-all-and-end-all. Working hard and doing one’s best is more important.
When you focus on acknowledging his efforts, your teen can readily bounce back from disappointments. He will not unreasonably question his abilities and competence because he knows that it’s perfectly okay not to succeed all the time.
Offer Your Teen Opportunities to Try Different Things
Encourage your son to explore different activities to help him discover what he is good at and what things he enjoys. Perhaps, you can invite him to do volunteer work with you or try a new hobby. If your child shows interest in music, maybe you can enroll him in a class to learn how to play the guitar or other instruments. Visit art museums, watch live games, attend concerts, go hiking, and try all sorts of activities so that your teen can learn and gain meaningful experiences that build confidence.
Be a Role Model
It may sound like a cliché, but actions do speak louder than words. Telling your teen to be confident is not enough to impart this valuable lesson. Unless you show a healthy level of self-confidence, all your words will fall on deaf ears. How can your son learn to believe in his abilities when he often hears you criticizing yourself? Practice what you preach. Dress well, be sociable, and learn to laugh at your mistakes.
If you want your teen to learn how to value effort over the outcome, be a model of hard work and persistence. For example, you can ask for his feedback as you practice your client presentation at home. Tell him that you want to do everything you can to prepare well so that you can do the presentation confidently.
Building your teenage son’s confidence is one of the most crucial things you can do as a parent. It is like giving him an important key to live independently and positively. When your teen has a healthy level of confidence, he will be more open to taking risks, will be unafraid to face challenging situations, and will be able to bounce back from failures quickly. That said, make confidence-building a priority. Ensure that all your words and actions are geared toward raising a more self-assured teen.