Articles Tweens Teens & Twenties

How to Build Resilience and Confidence in Teens and Tweens

Middle aged black mum and teen daughter smiling at each other

By Erica Rood, M.A. Ed. | Contributor

An adolescent’s journey is typically full of unique changes, and challenges, and 2020 has served these up on a super-sized scale! They need their parents to support them in building confidence and resilience so they can move forward with strength, perspective, and ease.

If ever there was a year when teens and tweens faced new and unusual life experiences, 2020 is the one. Between a sudden lockdown, social distancing requirements, and distance or hybrid learning, they have been required to adjust and adjust again.

Change isn’t always easy for youth. It can trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, and worry. But, when equipped with certain inner-tools and mindsets, they face uncertainty with confidence and resilience.

Confidence and resilience go hand in hand. When they are strong, young people are able to overcome challenges with strength and ease. They see obstacles as opportunities and can pull themselves back on track when life’s curve balls throw them off.

So, as a parent, what can you do to support confidence and resilience in your teen or tween?

1. Support self-esteem by respecting qualities over accomplishments. Begin to identify the personality trait, strength, or value that drives your son or daughter toward. accomplishments. Instead of saying, “I’m so proud of you…”  begin to say “I respect your…” Use the word respect to highlight a quality. Praise them for who they are more often that what they do.

2. Connect with purpose, not perfect. Teach your son or daughter to take action for purpose, not for perfection or approval. Help them understand their WHY by introducing these questions: Who am I doing this for? and Why am I doing this? Begin to honor the process over the product.

3. Redefine failure. Teach them the benefits of failure. Celebrate the important lessons that can be learned through an experience of failure. Ask questions like: What did you learn? What can you do next time? What will you definitely not do? What do you now know that you didn’t know before?

4. Talk about confidence and resilience. Point out examples of people who demonstrate confidence and resilience. Ask what these qualities mean to your teen or tween. Acknowledge when he or she demonstrates confidence and resilience.

Parents play a critical role in the development of confidence and resilience, but it is also important for young people to have a broader support system, one that extends beyond the family. Especially as teens advance toward adulthood, they need trusted adults with whom they can openly ask questions and talk about problems, hopes, and dreams.

When young people have adults in their lives who help them navigate challenges, overcome obstacles, and celebrate successes, their confidence and resilience improve. In fact, a strong support system benefits everyone; parents breathe a sigh of relief knowing their son or daughter has safe, trusted outlet and role model. Teens and tweens gain perspective and a healthy sense of self-reliance when they turn to people who can objectively guide them solving problems and overcome challenges on their own.

Erica Rood, M.A. Ed., is a teacher, author, speaker, and certified Life Coach. She founded Inspire Balance Coaching to share her mission of educating and empowering girls and parents. She supports parents by providing an outside perspective, realistic solutions, and new practices that lead to fewer battles, less frustration, better communication, and deeper respect and trust. Visit http://inspirebalance.com to learn more.  

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