The Talk: Puberty Changes and How To Keep Her Confident
Why building confidence is important for teenagers?
Confidence helps teenagers make safe, informed decisions. Confident teenagers can avoid people and
situations that aren’t necessarily right for them, and find those that are. If your child is confident, she’s also more likely to be assertive, positive, engaged, enthusiastic and persistent. Confident is really important, and there are plenty of ways to stay confident during puberty!
Why do girls lose self-confidence during puberty?
For girls, their first period is not just a body crisis, it’s a self confidence crisis. Studies have shown that once girls hit puberty, they start to have issues answering questions with confidence and passion. The phrases “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure” start to become prevalent as a response to simple questions like, “what do you care about?” and “what makes you angry?”
Researchers call this scary phenomenon “Loss of Voice.” It’s as if girls become disconnected from who they are. Divorced from their strongest thoughts and feelings, they exhibit low self-confidence and have trouble expressing opinions.
Here are some tips for building confidence and resilience in your child.
Look for the practical and positive things your child can do to build skills and increase her chances of success. Giving your child a clear strategy to improve her likelihood of success is a great way to help her understand exactly what she can do to achieve goals. For example, ‘Jane, if you want to be picked for the swimming team, you need to make sure you’re listening to the coach and practising between sessions’.
Give your child opportunities to try new things
When your child tries lots of different things, she’ll get to know what she’s good at and what she enjoys. She’ll also learn that most people do well at some things and not so well at others – and that’s fine. After all, we can’t all be Olympic athletes, gaming champions or musical geniuses.
Encourage your child to keep trying
If your child fails at something, help her understand that everyone makes mistakes. It’s OK if you can’t do something the first time you try. You could share some examples of times that you’ve failed, or have needed to keep trying at something.
Model confidence in your own ability
You can be a role model when it comes to confidence. For example, you could talk to your child about what you’re going to do to try to succeed at a task. If it doesn’t work out, you can model resilience by talking about what you’re going to try next time. You can also discuss things you’ve done that might have been scary or tough for you to do, showing your child that you’ve also been through times when you’ve needed confidence.
Encourage your child to act confident
Acting confident is the first step to feeling confident. So you could suggest to your child that she makes eye contact with others, is bold, does what she loves, tries not to focus on what she can’t do, and walks away from situations she knows aren’t good.
Practice social skills
If your child feels anxious in social situations, she might need some guidance from you. For example, body posture, smiling, connecting with others, showing interest in others’ activities and joining in conversations can help build confidence.
Praise your child’s efforts
If an exam, interview or game doesn’t work out the way your child hoped, try to praise your child for the effort she put into the activity, rather than the outcome. You could also suggest some ideas about what she could do differently next time.