7 Tips for Parents Who Want Their Teen to Have a Strong Sense of Self

7 Tips for Parents Who Want Their Teen to Have a Strong Sense of Self

Raising Confident Teens: 7 Tips for Parents

Who Want Their Teen to Have a Strong Sense of Self


As a parent, you always want what is best for your child. You want to see them blossom and become their own person, which means encouraging them to discover their passions and pursue their interests. Sometimes, however, this isn’t as easy as it sounds—especially when you have a teenager.

It’s no secret that being a teenager is one of the most challenging times in a person’s life. Aside from physical or physiological changes, teens must cope with unfamiliar experiences and increased mental, social, emotional, and academic challenges. For these same reasons, adolescence is also a time of self-discovery, character building, and personality development. And as parents, there is nothing more rewarding than to see your children confidently come into their own. 

7 Tips for Parents Who Want Their Teen to Have a Strong Sense of Self

So if you’re wondering how you can best support your teen during this most crucial time in their lives, here are some of our tips:

1. Nurture their natural curiosity.

Children are naturally curious, so it’s crucial to continue nurturing their desire to know, see, and learn more as they grow older. The new experiences they encounter as teenagers fuel their need to discover more about themselves and the world around them. There are many ways a parent can support and harness their teen’s natural curiosity. Allow them the freedom to hone their natural talents and interests. Encourage them to widen their perspective by exposing them to a variety of experiences and asking open-ended questions. Take them to museums and art shows, let them volunteer in community projects, plan meaningful travels, and enroll them in classes and activities they are interested in. 

2. Give them the freedom of choice.

Parents don’t often realize the amount of pressure that teens experience in their daily lives. It’s not uncommon to see students struggle in classes or activities they are not passionate about but still continue to do for fear of disappointing their parents. It’s important to remember that while you may wish for your child’s interests to be more aligned with yours, they are their own person with their own passions, skills, goals, and dreams. Allow them to nurture their talents and interests without fear of being judged or misunderstood. Praising your child three times more than you criticize them helps build their confidence and self-esteem. The 3:1 positive-to-negative ratio is a simple rule of thumb to help you maintain the right balance.

3. Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them.

When you empower your child to make their own choices, it goes without saying that they’re bound to make mistakes. It’s important to let your teen know that mistakes are not something to be feared. Instead of comments like “I told you so,” use this time as a chance to teach your child the value of self-reflection and dealing with consequences. Build trust with your teen by letting them know you support and accept them regardless of their mistakes. Instead of dictating and forcing your ideas upon them, offer your guidance in finding solutions to correct the situation.

4. Recognize their unique personalities, talents, and interests.

Moms and dads love to talk about their children, and when they are among other parents, comparisons cannot be helped. This further adds to a teenager’s struggle with finding his or her place in the world. As it is, teens spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not they “fit in” in their social groups, so adding pressure by comparing them to others is detrimental to their development. Assure your child that it’s their uniqueness that will eventually allow them to discover who they are as a person. As a parent, you can support your child by finding ways to highlight their talents and create opportunities for them to showcase their own way of thinking and interests.

5. Find mentors and positive role models.

A teen’s relationship with his or her parents can sometimes  be complicated, so as much as you’d like for your child to be completely open with you, it’s not always going to happen. There are also things that parents may not be fully equipped to help their child with, such as academic demands. One way for your child to have a positive role model is through private tutoring. A third-party private tutor can help your teen cope with his or her academic workload while providing guidance and teaching key life skills such as time management, organization, and goal-setting. Successful tutoring and mentoring lets teens feel a sense of accomplishment and build confidence. Here are some tried and tested ways for parents of teens to manage their homework.

(Learn more about How a Tutor Can Help Motivate Your Teen to Excel in School.)

7 Tips for Parents Who Want Their Teen to Have a Strong Sense of Self

6. Encourage them to learn about the world.

We cannot form a fully realized version of ourselves without also recognizing our roots, our community, and our history. A person’s identity is partly shaped by his or her environment, family experiences, and understanding of the past and the world we live in. Encourage your teen to read history books and current events, watch documentaries, and get involved in your community. Learning about the world we live in never ends, so this is something that parents can also do with their children.

7. Be an example to your child.

Whether they admit it or not, teens look up to their parents and take inspiration from them. So now is a good time to also assess yourself and look at your own goals, passions, relationships, and choices. If you want your child to have a strong sense of self, it’s important that they see it reflected in you as well. When you make your drive, confidence, and passions clear in your hobbies, family, career, and community, it becomes easier for you to inspire your teen.



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⏩7 Tips for Parents Who Want Their Teen to Have a Stronger Sense of Self⏪




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Meet Craig Selinger, the passionate owner behind Themba Tutors, a renowned practice specializing in executive function coaching and tutoring. Together with his team of multidisciplinary professionals, they bring their extensive knowledge to numerous locations: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as offering remote services. As a licensed speech-language pathologist in the state of NY, executive functioning coach, and educational specialist with an impressive track record spanning over two decades, Craig has professionally assisted thousands of families. Craig's proficiency encompasses a wide spectrum of areas, including language-related learning challenges such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. He is also well-versed in executive functioning, ADHD/ADD, and various learning disabilities. What truly distinguishes Craig and his team is their unwavering commitment to delivering comprehensive support. By actively collaborating with the most esteemed professionals within the NYC metropolitan region – from neuropsychologists to mental health therapists and allied health experts – they create a network of expertise.
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