Raising a Confident Teen Requires Active ParentingIt is not uncommon for teens to test the waters as they struggle to find their own identities. Raising a Confident Teen Requires Active Parenting. Peer pressure and low self-esteem can lead to self destructive behaviors such as smoking or alcohol use. Society places a lot of expectation on our youth. Boys are expected to excel at sports and girls are expected to be pretty and thin. Girls mature faster than boys by about two years enhancing their need to feel attractive and become popular. A study released by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) showed that self esteem is indeed an influential factor when dealing with peer pressure. Confident and positive teens are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, substances that teens often use to make them “feel good”.

Some activities instill more confidence than others. Familiarity breeds contentment. If your teen has goals that are important to them as an individual, but they excel in other areas, they may feel inadequate in pursing their personal goals. As parents, we have to find out what their priorities are, what is their list of interests, and help them find ways to improve those areas of their life. Permissive parenting does not work. You have to take the lead role and be the parent!

If your son, for example, wants to be an artist, but just happens to be awesome on the baseball field, consider enrolling him in a art class so he can pursue his challenging interests. Let him experience art! Being a teenager is tough. We need to permit them the personal experience of chasing their own dreams or aspirations. Just because your son is good at baseball doesn’t translate to him having a passion to play the game. Baseball for him comes easy, just like math comes easy to others.

Chores can also help your teen build their self esteem. As they age, they can – and should, handle more cross-gender responsibilities. Teach your daughter how to operate the lawn mower and change the oil on the family car. Teach your son how to cook and use the sewing machine. As they accomplish new tasks outside of their day-to-day routine, they gain more confidence.

The teen years are when we think we are supposed to step back and let them develop some independence, and that is true. Teens need to learn to make right and wrong choices. Let them learn from their own bad decisions and follow through with reasonable punishment when warranted. You want your kids to learn to trust themselves. Let them help make family decisions and listen to their opinions. Let them help establish their curfew, their allowance, when it is too late to be on the telephone, or how much time is too much time spend in front of the television or computer screen. If a few years they will be an active part of a society that has rules. While they are learning to become adults, teen appreciate boundaries. They know they are not yet ready to be set free! Having a curfew, or a limit on text messages, lets them be responsible for themselves, but within safe boundaries. As they comply, they are learning to make appropriate choices within a set of boundaries, and how to stay off of restriction.

As your teen shows good judgement by following the rules, you can loosen the reins a little. If too much freedom gets them into trouble, then you know they still need tighter rules. If you give them too much rope and they get tangled up in it, then it is time to shorten the rope. As you see they have mastered life using the shorter rope, go ahead and try it again. Eventually, they will graduate high school and move with full control of their lives… with no rope or net to catch them at all!

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