Why is there a difference in how confident young children and teenagers are? If you’ve ever watched young children, most are very confident about themselves. Instead of humble responses that teenagers give when they receive a compliment, children will say “I know” or “Yeah, isn’t that great?” Young children accept praise easily and revel in the positive attention.
Most children are more assertive and speak up for themselves. I’ve heard children say their school is too easy and they want harder classes with more challenging work. They’re also quick to speak up if they’re sick or shoes are too tight. Teenagers many times don’t want to seem as though they’re different from the pack, so they keep quiet and ignore what they’re really feeling.
Self-confidence is so important because it affects everything in our lives – how we do in school, what jobs we apply for and are hired for, our social interactions with our family and friends, the way we perceive ourselves in relation to others on social media.
Confident children in school feel sure of themselves enough to raise their hands in class to answer a question or to ask one or to give a dynamic presentation to their schoolmates. They will keep trying to understand the material being taught even if it’s difficult for them to begin with. Follow that with being confident in college and interviewing for a job they really want.
We need to encourage assertiveness and strong self-esteem in our teenagers so that they carry the confidence they had as a child into adulthood. We need to compliment them, find their strengths and encourage and feed those. We need to help them see that the attitudes of their peers won’t follow them as they get older, that adults are more concerned with merit and character than they are with popularity.
We owe it to our teenagers to inspire them to blossom and to embolden them to become all they can be. Feeding their confidence can make all the difference.
My online course Stop Being a Doormat and Start Using Your Personal Power to Build Healthy Relationships contains articles, guided visualizations and songs about helping build strong relationships, including with your family members. One special article 6 Easy Actions to Take to Encourage Self-Confidence in Children gives you tips on increasing self-confidence in younger children, and many of these tips can be applied to teenagers. Don’t let the confidence you helped build in your children fall apart when they reach their teenage years. In fact, it’s best to nurture their self-confidence all their lives.