Updated: May 19, 2021
By Parenting Teenagers Expert & Psychologist Angela Karanja As seen on
As parent of teenagers, here’s why you ought to pay very close attention to these 7 Essential Ps To Promote Your Teenager’s Confidence.
These 7 essentials can help you promote your teenager’s confidence as soon as today.
Ignoring these essentials to promote confidence, could mean you missing out.
Missing out on your chance to influence your teenager towards positive development and, gaining the confidence they require to navigate life successfully as young people and beyond.
Parenting teenagers is no walk in the park as most parents testify; including myself as a parent of teenagers as well as a child psychologist, researcher and educator of teenagers for over 20 years.
Many parents of teenagers are suddenly surprised when their teenager, the kid that used to be all out and confident suddenly turns up laden with self-doubt, and some even to the extent of self-loathing.
Their hormones have started raging and their teenage brain is developing at drastic rates. They start questioning everything we’ve taught them. It is as if they start fighting against the world.
As parent of teenagers, this is not the time to sit alone in isolation wondering where your cute little girl or boy went. Neither is it time to kick and bash yourself with self-doubt, shame and guilt, wondering what you did wrong. Instead, this is the time to shift and lift your parenting game to a whole new level, and to educate yourself how to help your teenage restore that self-confidence and self-esteem.
That is why I am excited to share this report on
7 Essential Ps To Promote Your Teenager’s Confidence.
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Confidence is a state of being mentally strong and healthy.
Confidence is strength with style.
A belief, a solid rock belief in self and that you are capable of succeeding in that which you put yourself out for.
Confidence is largely and usually related to self-esteem, the quality of feeling good about self and valuing self.
Without confidence, your teenager will be;
Unable to achieve much because they lack belief in self.
They will struggle to speak up for themselves.
They are likely to be abused and bullied.
With confidence, your teenager will;
Have a healthy self-esteem.
Be strongly and safely aware of who they truly are.
Know what they are deserving of and not useless entitlement.
Have healthy awareness of talents and abilities.
Will not think they are better than anyone else or think other people are better than them.
They will be masters of what they are good at.
Be candid, knowing they don’t know everything, and it is ok.
Be happy, healthy and strong mentally.
To attain and achieve this level of confidence, teenagers require to be mentored and have role models in their lives that help promote their confidence.
Fortunately, very fortunately research continues to show that parents still have the most influential impact on teenagers, bar none.
Now, The 7 Essential Ps To Promote Your Teenager’s Confidence.
These 7Ps are not only essential but highly effective for promoting teenagers’ confidence.
5. Promotion of self-improvement.
6. Promoting independence.
Teenage Confidence Booster 1;
Presence is one of the most basic of the Ps that is highly essential for promoting teenager’s confidence but, is one that can be largely overlooked because during teenage years, teenagers tend to pull away from their parents. However, research shows that presence i.e. the availability of a caring, compassionate and supportive parent remains a basic need for teenagers and is essential for emotional, social and cognitive development.
Additionally, your presence as a parent is essential for mental wellness, social skills and confidence. So, no matter how your teenager pretends they don’t need you or want nothing to do with you, be present and send a constant and consistent message that you care and are available. This doesn’t mean hovering over them and helicopter parenting, oh how they resent that!
It means creating a trusting environment where they know you will be present and available, not if, but when they fall. And, teenagers will fall, many times! Because the impulsive part of the teenager's brain is guiding them mostly, and the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed, they continue to behave in impulsive and irrational ways. Of course, the result of behaving this way is that many mistakes are made. On the same note many many discoveries are made and that’s why you need to be there to show your compassion, care and support.
You can create this trust and belief that you are present by identifying short and snap moments when you remind them you love and care for them. This could be as simple as sending text saying; “I am hoping my lovely son has a good day and I look forward to seeing him later.”
Make it your goal that this week, every day you will show your teenager any which way, that you are present and available for them.
Teenage Confidence Booster 2;
Praise. You have heard the slogan “there is power in praise”. Now, this is not just a good quote. Praise has been found to give life and add life to both animate and inanimate things and objects. Some in the field of metaphysics have even called Praise, the Law of Increase – suggesting that when you praise you are directing positive focus and, the thing that you praise increases.
Praising your teenager and acknowledging the unique person they are as well as praising their efforts can go a far distance in developing their mental wellness, their self-esteem, confidence and thus a healthy relationship with you.
The striatum part of the teenagers' brain is the core part of the brain’s reward system. When you praise your teenager, good feelings hormones (serotonin and dopamine) also known as the happy hormones are released into their system. Hence why you should praise them for who they are too, because this helps build confidence and a healthy self-esteem.
The other bit of praise should be when they make an effort no matter how small, and when they are progressing. Consider that in teenage years the striatum is even more heightened and hyper-responsive to feedback. Don’t wait for the chore or project to be completed, praise them along the way, praise the process.
Praise the person and the process, not just results or when they have accomplished something. Remember to use descriptive praise so that they know exactly what they are doing well.
For example; “I notice you emptied the bins without any prompting, that is very kind of you, I love that autonomous bit about you. You are a valuable member of this family”
Make it your goal that this week, every day you will praise your teenager and any effort that they make. Make it genuine, relevant and reasonable. The reason it must be genuine is that if there is doubt at all, you would defeat the purpose for which you are praising and will in essence not be helping build their confidence.
Teenage Confidence Booster 3;
Propping means supporting your teenager actively in their decision. Encouraging them to make decisions and supporting these no matter how different they are to ours and how we would like them to be.
As parents of teenagers, we will be faced with numerous unreasonable behaviours and demands. The best way we can help our teenagers develop their confidence if to be curious not furious. Actively listening to their suggestion and even be enthusiastic about their suggestion whether we agree with them or not.
As we listen this is not our moment to judge and criticise. As you have heard me say before, research is showing us that criticising teenagers and young people only makes them shut down and doesn’t help in building their confidence at all, it only shatters it.
As you listen to your teenager, you get to know them better and are able to support them even more greatly. Subsequently, they are willing to share their moments and movements because they trust you as a support. As you show them you are interested, they are likely to ask for help in the future and it is in helping them that they become competent. With competence their confidence increases.
As you continue to be a prop, you help them develop their confidence. This also relieves you off the burden of making decisions for them because both you and the teenager know that your position is a prop and not the main decision maker. So, as a prop you are constantly throwing back the responsibility to them.
You are helping them put one foot in front of the other or one foot on the ladder and then encouraging them to place the next one on the next step.
Basically, you are scaffolding, supporting and cheering them as they move themselves to higher mental heights and this is how they build their confidence. Therefore, ensure you are there as a support person to your teenager not as a carer, doing things for them.
For example: when your teenager tells you of a decision they made, acknowledge them for being proactive and acknowledge their decision as a valid one. Next, listen in and show interested in how they came up with this. Encourage them to tell you what comes to mind and how they feel this solution or decision makes them feel about themselves and how it is bound to enrich their life. Listen do not criticise.
Ask if you can be involved in the evaluation of the decision then allow them to evaluate them and evaluate it objectively. Remember this is not a time to criticise. When you allow them to go through this evaluation process safely, they will be objective and sooner or later they will themselves rule the decision right or wrong. The good thing is that they will feel safe whichever way it goes because they feel your support.
Propping is so important because if you do it carefully your teenager will soon be walking confidently without much need for you. Of course, as young people they will always require assistance. However, they will not be asking for assistance because they are incapacitated but, they will be coming from a position of strength and belief that you will enrich their life.
Teenage Confidence Booster 4;
Partitioning is the art of distinguishing, balancing and understanding personal strengths. What do I mean by this and how is partitioning essential for building your teenager’s confidence?
This is teaching your teenager to realise, be aware of and know what they are capable of(distinguishing).
Knowing that they may not be capable of doing everything or they are not yet competent (balancing).
Understanding that just because they are not good at one thing doesn’t mean they are not good at everything and should not generalise that they are useless (understanding).
As parents of teenagers it is imperative that we master this concept of partitioning and teach it to our teenagers because, the generalisation type of thinking can be detrimental and damaging to the process of building confidence.
You want to teach your teenagers how to partition and help them understand their strengths and their vulnerabilities. To know, understand and accept “this is what I can do at the moment and this is what I am not yet able to do at the moment.”
To attain teenage confidence requires an awareness that life is composite of different facets and not just one thing. Again, just because you are not capable of doing one thing that doesn’t mean that’s it for you. Or thinking that the thing you do is synonymous with you and therefore if you are not able to do that thing your life is ruined. The thing you are able or unable to do is not you. Teach them they are human beings, not human doings.
You want to point out the strengths of your teenager in different areas in their life and don’t allow this to define you neither should you define the teenager by their vulnerabilities. Also, it’s about teaching them not to allow anyone to define them by what they can and cannot do.
You can do the thing, but you are not that thing that you can do.
Imagine how lifeless and useless someone would feel if they had identified themselves with the thing that they could do, and then the thing was taken away from them? Their confidence would be trashed too. For whatever reason imagine if they were no longer able to do the thing they had identified as self? They would feel lost and would lose their identity. That’s why it is very important to practise partitioning.
Once a young person has understood their strengths in this balanced way, it them becomes easier to understand their vulnerabilities as part of being a human person.
A confident teenage or person is one who understands and accepts they are a human being and not a human doing. Therefore, they are not defined by things and deeds. This is what confidence is, a strong mental quality, an element so deep and sure it can never be robbed.
Teenage Confidence Booster 5;
Promoting self-improvement is an important P for instilling confidence in teenagers. Remember teenagers will most likely do what we do and not what we say. Modelling is the most influential way of effecting behaviour. They may listen to us but that is usually after they have gained enough trust from us, so that we become their mentors.
For example, don’t be a parent who is self-critical and expect your teenager to not do the same. If you bash and shame yourself, you are creating a learning environment where your teenager learns to constantly slice and shred their self-esteem and confidence.
This is why you may have noticed families where everyone is so shy, self-critical, so withheld. This is because they learn from each other. This behaviour brushes off to each other. You and I as parents raising teenagers need to lead by example, in terms of self-love and self-talk.
If you feel you haven’t got the confidence that is required to be able to model this to your teenager, do not be afraid to seek for help. We have a program called Unshakable Self Confidence Builder which helps you build confidence in just 30 days. When you’ve gained this Unshakable Self Confidence then you can model this confidence and mentor your teenager to be confident. In fact, after this time, you will be in a position to empower your teenager to use the same program to boost their confidence to high and healthy levels.
When you are confident, you can be authentic and even show and discuss areas in your life where you have had to take risks and be brave to develop the confidence that you now have.
When promoting confidence by way of encouraging self-improvement, make sure that your measure of progress is in terms of how kind they have been, how helpful they have been, and how they have improved the lives of others.
Teach your teenager it is more important to have a peaceful life, to be kind, to be helpful than to have a face full of makeup, a six pack or a big butt.
You are not saying these are not important especially, if that’s what matters to them. You are saying it is more important to have those social justice values and qualities of the heart than physical appearance. So, let your measure and therefore their measure of self-improvement be; having a peaceful life, being kind, being helpful. Let this be the measure of growth and self-improvement.
It is this building of who you truly are that builds confidence because these are qualities of the heart and cannot be ripped away from you. Constantly seek to find out, how your teenager’s presence and actions have impacted on someone else’s life. Encourage them to use that as their ongoing measure to evaluate themselves.
As they begin to see and experience how doable this thinking of and helping others is, they will gain that feel good factor and confidence that comes with helping and improving the lives of others that makes one feel of value and thus increases their confidence.
Teenage Confidence Booster 6;
Promotion of independence.
Promotion of independence might come across and sound confusing especially after we have just looked at the importance of presence and propping. It is only from a point of strength that you can build your teenagers confidence. To do it otherwise would be setting your teenager up for failure. When we talked earlier about your presence, your praises and being there as a prop, all these Ps position you as an anchor for them. They now have a safe and sound position from which their independence can be promoted, and with independence confidence is built.
Independence is about your teenager being able to fly out by the themselves, but the strength and grounding built by your presence, praise and propping is what is going to propel them to independence and as they try things by themselves and achieve, they gain competence and with competence comes confidence.
They need to practise doing things for themselves if they are going to gain mastery, because with mastery the confidence spirals outwards and onwards.
Avoiding hovering and micromanaging is a must if teenagers are going to gain mastery. Besides, micromanaging sends a sinister message that you don’t trust them - when a teenager senses that you don’t trust them, this is a sure confidence killer, it breeds and reinforces incapacitation and dependency.
Allow the teenager to make personal decisions for themselves and just go along with them. I personally believe that unless the child is harming themselves or another, there are many choices parents of teenagers we really ought not to be interfering with.
For example, what they wear and what they eat. I have seen some parents insist the eating of certain fruits or vegetables. Now, as long as the teenager is aware that they need fruits and vegetable, do you have to then choose that they must eat a banana if they are choosing to eat a kiwi?
As long as they have eaten the five a day, does it matter whether it was black eyed beans or kidney beans?
I say this because I know parents who micromanage so minutely and sharply. If they could, they would dictate how the teenager’s food goes down their digestive system.
Allowing independence is a big confidence booster. It shows the teenager you trust them to look after themselves, they feel empowered and, in this way, they gain a confidence strong enough to be able to request for your help when they actually need it.
I hope you can see how the 7 PS interlink. This is because they are not to be used in isolation but in integration.
Teenage Confidence Booster 7;
Positivity, though our last on this list is by absolutely no means least.
Positivity is the creation and encouragement of a positive environment where positive talk and positive habits towards self and others are promoted and encouraged. Positivity is a very essential element in promoting teenagers’ confidence and even though it appears last in this list it really should be integrated every time all the time.
Positive self-talk should be encouraged all through. Whether it is inner monologue or dialogues or outer talk. Our job parenting teenagers is to help them think and shift the way they think about themselves -the self-image they have and who they deep within regard themselves to be.
Encourage your teenager to hang out with people who value them and those who see the good in them.
Let’s take for example your teenager tells you that they went to visit someone. Friends let’s say. These friends were negative, they said negative things about your teenager and or other people. Discourage your teenager from such company. Show your teenager that such relations are toxic. Company that put you down as a person and devalue and dehumanise are to be discouraged. Remember when dealing with teenagers, to always provide a rationale for your suggestions. This way they take you seriously and see you are not just pulling hindrances out of a hat just to block them.
Discourage relationships that abuse your teenager mentally. Relations that shred other people’s worth.
The degree of healthiness and positivity of the environment where they are spending time, will determine their level of confidence.
Encourage spending time with people who value them and those that spot and seek goodness in them and truly minimise the amount of time they spend with negative influence including online.
Bear in mind that you cannot completely control what and where they go neither can the negative environment be completely eradicated. But negative connections can be minimised and the impact therefore minimised.
Before your teenager gains that Unshakable Self Confidence, you will need to do a lot of positive affirmations, at home and wherever you are at and truly teach them to value themselves.
You want them to get to a point where they are talking good and life-giving speeches to themselves and about themselves - a place where their inner dialogues and monologues are mostly positive.
What I like to say is, do not entertain life depleting jokes. Some families get in the habit of speaking diminishing words and then say they are joking. If you know about the subconscious mind is that it doesn’t distinguish real or imagined. If you encourage your teenager to say they are “thick, foolish, stupid” even as a joke they are feeding the very cells of their body with those negative affirmations.
It is no wonder we have so many teenagers without a backbone. As a supposed joke, someone told them they are thick, they believed it. They started telling it to themselves. Now they are at a point they claim that’s just the way they are.
It doesn’t have to be that way, you can change the speech, the dialogues and monologues in your home to be positive. This is because the words we use on ourselves, we internalise and become us. This is the psychology of affirmations because the things you constantly say about yourself become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here is a quick recap of the 7Ps that are not only essential but highly effective for promoting your teenager’s confidence.
5. Promotion of self-improvement.
6. Promoting independence.
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