Category Archives: Her Confidence

A Confident Teenage Girl: How to Spot One and How to Raise One

iStock_000008670406XSmall

“What does every mother want for her daughter?”

 

This question has long guided my work. It even led me to the name of my business.

 

A few things I know for sure: Every mother wants her daughter to be happy and safe. Every mother wants to launch her daughter into the world and to see her fulfill her potential.

 

To me, you can sum up these hopes with one word: confidence.

 

Then, I wondered about what every mother wants for herself as she tries to raise her daughter. Again, I came up with the same answer: confidence.  Free of worry, second guesses, and fatigue, a mother wants to feel she has prepared her daughter for the world.

 

It sounded good. But then I thought further… How does someone get this coveted confidence? And what is it exactly anyway?

 

As you’ve likely noticed the teen years are not a stage of life that’s brimming with steady confidence. For some girls it comes and goes, and for others it never seems to show up at all.

 

And when it comes to being a parent, I don’t need to tell you that you’ll often feel more worry than confidence.

 

As you parent her in these years it’s important not to focus on individual incidents that represent her lack of confidence but rather focus on the big picture of her growth toward confidence as a young woman.

 

How to spot teenage confidence when you see it

 

Confidence is part of the teenage experience. When is it likely to emerge and how can you encourage it to show up more often?

 

First, let’s explore what confidence in a teen actually looks like.

 

Here’s my list. What would you add?

 

Confidence is about being comfortable.

 

Comfort with making mistakes

Comfort with trying something new

Comfort with not knowing and with learning

Comfort with being silly

Comfort  with saying NO.

with asking questions

with having goals and dreams

with expressing needs

with with being the smartest kid on the block.

with loving her body and explore what it is capable of beyond sex appeal

with laughing

with starting over

with being angry -even at you

with saying I am sorry

with being stuck

with not knowing what she wants to be when she grows up

with listening to herself and know when she is uncomfortable

with not having to do what everyone else is doing

with taking risks

with asking for help

with being vulnerable and share her tears

with speaking out about what she thinks is not right

 

You Can Help Build Her Confidence

   

The teenagers who have let me into their most vulnerable worlds have taught me that confidence is a work in progress. Confidence is something they really want and are very willing to learn.

 

As a parent you sit in the most influential seat in the house. Here are ten ways you can wield that influence and support her on her way toward building lasting confidence over time.

 

1. Understand that the teenage years are inherently a scary time and confidence is something that comes and goes.

 

2. Know that what you say contributes to how she understands herself. You have more influence – both good and bad – than you realize.

 

3. Your daughter is seeking to understand herself. Take this opportunity to step in. Show her and tell her why she is valuable.

 

4. She needs permission not to be perfect. She doesn’t need to have it all figured out. You can help her value the journey rather than the destination.

 

5. She needs encouragement and support to explore what she is capable of whether that’s in art, sports, drama, music, animals, or the outdoors. All these experiences help her know her potential and opportunities as a young woman.

 

6. She want you to engage her in thinking critically about her world in a way that’s fun and exciting so so she can learn to disagree and be challenged in a positive atmosphere.

 

7. She needs to see you be vulnerable so she can learn how to take risks too.

 

8. She need you to be okay with the fact that she is taking risks.

 

9. She needs you to be okay with her identity experiments even if you don’t like them.

 

Finding confidence for yourself as a parent and for her as a teenager will come and go. That is the nature of this stage of life for both of you.

Always remember that this is a process and not a destination for both of you. Know one has perfect confidence. But you can have acceptance of the ups and downs, both of you are experiencing on your way to finding comfort with being human.

 

In full support of your awesome relationship with your teen daughter

Josie Bohling, MFT

 

    

Are Teenage Girls Costume To Sexy?

Sexy Halloween

  Have you noticed the Halloween costumes marketed to teen girls? French maids, pussy cats, pirate wenches…   What’s the deal? When did Halloween become dress like a hooker night for high school girls?   Do You Have a Vision of What Halloween is “Supposed” To Be?   A quick review of the history ofContinue Reading

Empowering Your Daughter’s Expressions of Anger or Disapproval

Teen anger management

In The Curse of the Good Girl, Rachel Simmons writes at length about the cultural pressures that require a girl to always act nice and look cute. These pressures put girls in a bind because it is not always possible or appropriate to remain nice and cute when they, in fact, have a range of otherContinue Reading

Teen Stress

Is your teens stressed out? Would you recognize it if she was? Stress is now commonly recognized as one of the leading causes of physical and mental health issues for both adults and teens. For teens, life can be particularly stressful as they figure out how to manage academic expectations, relationships with friends and family,Continue Reading

The Best Way to Protect Your Daughter

I hate to say it but you can not sheild your daughter from the sexualized media its impact on her self-image. The best protection you can offer her  is to teach her the skills of critical thought and personal reflection. Through these skills, she can develop an increased sense of self value. Your daughter willContinue Reading

Your Daughter’s Social Life Is Not Everything

Having a social life is very important to teens but it is an ephemeral, rapidly changing thing, often filled with drama. Teen girls are easily pulled into believing their ultimate value is based on where they stand in the pecking order of popular cliques. And the pressures of wanting to fit in might make yourContinue Reading

Tip the Balance: Positive Images for your Teen Girl

In order to tip the balance so that your daughter values her self beyond her image, you want to mitigate her exposure to targeted messages that tell her a young girl’s most valuable asset is her image. Images of unattainable female beauty are so prevalent they are practically the air young girls breathe. As aContinue Reading

Can you compete with the media’s message to your daughter?

Many teen girls today are more concerned with their looks than with their grades. As a result, parents are mystified as to where their daughter’s obsession with looking trendy and sexy is coming from. It’s really no mystery, however. The average teenager is exposed to over 10 hours of media a day via the internet,Continue Reading

Are Gender Identity Pressures Limiting Your Teen’s Self Expression?

Many teens risk isolation or bullying if they do not fit nicely into the Barbie and Ken archetypes of male or female. A new documentary called Straightlaced takes a thoughtful look at how some teens navigate these strict gender role expectations by interviewing them about their personal experiences. The resulting interviews reveal that there isContinue Reading