It’s hard being a confident teenage girl in 2018.
A Norwegian study* of adolescents found that boys scored 24% higher than girls on self-esteem, with self-esteem being positively associated with life satisfaction. So, the higher the self-esteem, the higher the level of wellbeing and general happiness.
So how can you help your daughter improve her self-confidence?
1. Give her the space to create solutions
Helicopter parenting doesn’t equip children with the knowledge and confidence they need to solve their own problems. Your daughter will always face challenges through life. It’s not what she faces, but how she faces it that will determine her level of self-worth. The confidence she will gain from taking on a challenge – whether it be a project, a goal, a fractured friendship – coming up with her own solution and acting on it, is so valuable. Even making her own mistakes and learning from those mistakes will build self-esteem, if approached with the right mindset. Your job is to listen without judgement, seek to understand, support her decision and be there for her if it all falls apart or works brilliantly! Let’s hope for the latter.
2. Support her when she finds her lane
When teenagers find something they are skilled in, their confidence grows in other areas. It’s important to support her 100% if and when you come across that space where your daughter feels safe and confident. It may be sitting in front of a canvas, or on stage, or playing the piano, or in her chemistry class, or in a swimming pool. Wherever her talent lies, do what you can to nurture that talent and give her as many opportunities to build and grow in that area. A lovely friend’s daughter found she had a knack for leadership and managing people in the kitchen of a fast food chain. Her mother has seen her blossom so if that means picking up her daughter at midnight after a shift, then that’s what she’ll do to nurture the newfound confidence in her daughter.
3. Model self-confidence
You are your daughter’s biggest influence. Teenagers observe your behaviour, consciously and sub-consciously absorbing your responses to life and then replaying it in their own lives. So be sure you are actively walking the talk and modelling self-confidence. Don’t talk disparagingly about yourself. Don’t swat away compliments. Work on your own mindset and positive behaviours. When you are facing your own challenges, chat through them with your daughter (if age appropriate) and show her that you are also fearful of making the wrong decision but that you are facing the situation armed with solutions and self-confidence.
These three tips will help your daughter improve her relationship with herself and ultimately positively impact her overall sense of wellbeing and life satisfaction.
The Arrive & Thrive in Wellbeing Program builds on what you have been doing as a parent by helping teenage girls reach their full potential, promoting the five core elements of wellbeing – positive emotion, positive engagement, positive relationships, positive meaning, positive achievement – transforming from the inside out.
* Self-esteem and life satisfaction in adolescents-gender and age as potential moderators 2013, Norwegian University of Technology and Science.