Confidence in a child is a necessary trait in surviving many of life’s teen year challenges. How, as a parent, do I teach my teen to have confidence when I didn’t have any as a teen?
As I watch my son and daughter reach their teen years, I notice pangs of insecurity that only the onset of puberty can bring. I swear, it’s like living parts of my own teen years over again. As a confident adult, I want to instill them with all kinds of courage and assurance so they can handle their teen challenges with fervor. But, I realize I might be slightly hypocritical. I didn’t have any confidence back then. How can I expect them to suddenly embrace their hormonal and emotional changes with poise and tenacity?
I wish I had been stronger, more assertive, and outspoken when I was their age. I can literally recall specific instances where I wish I had handled things more confidently as a teen. I let others take control over my actions and decisions by not standing up for my beliefs or speaking my mind. Interestingly enough, when I refer to others I am referring to some of my closest friends at the time. As a teenaged girl, I had my fair share of exposure to cattiness, backstabbing “best friends”, competitive “friends” and uncalled for jealousies. Things today’s confident me would never allow.
Maintaining friendships is also difficult as emotions, jealousies, and hormones begin to play a role. When I was in high school, I had a best friend who always wanted to be better off than me. I am not one to compete with friends, so I began to stray and find a new best friend (I found the kindest person that is still my best friend to this day.) Needless to say, the former BF lashed out. It went so far as her finding me taking a walk one night, and cornering me to fight! The situation ended before it escalated. But, I must admit, it did shake my confidence some. Instead of realizing that it was her problem, I took it to heart. I stopped to think “What did I do?” when in reality, she pushed me away. I can see this now, but it was difficult to see then. Many of us can recall dealing with others that would boost their popularity at the expense of others. Teasing, excluding, and embarrassing the more passive kids would give them attention and make them appear witty.
So many instances where a little confidence would have helped. I want to do so much to help my kids have what I didn’t at their age. I’m going to do everything I can to try to show them confidence… much earlier than when I discovered it.