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Raising Confident Young Adults

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Many young people struggle with self-assurance and self-esteem at some point in their development. Growing kids may be confident in grade school but begin to experience self-doubts and insecurities as their minds and bodies change. Many children first develop issues with self-esteem in adolescence.

Parents and educators who understand how to build self-confidence in young adults can help with activities and confidence-building strategies that allow teens to rediscover and reaffirm their talents, while exploring their interests and stretching their abilities.

What Is Self-Esteem and What Does It Look Like?

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Self-esteem is a mental health concept that refers to our beliefs about our own value or worthiness. Our level of self-esteem heavily influences our decision making.1 A healthy level of self-esteem motivates us to take good care of ourselves and explore our full potential. Teens with a healthy level of self-esteem are not afraid to try new things, think outside the box, or take on academic challenges.

Young adults who have doubts about their own value or worth will lack confidence. They might not feel worthy or capable of achieving their goals and dreams. As a result, they have a tendency to let things slide and back down in the face of adversity. Helping young adults with building self-esteem can uncover their shrouded potential.

How to Build Confidence in Kids

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A healthy level of self-esteem for teens will help them feel confident and resilient in facing academic and life challenges. This motivating factor helps them reach their goals and bounce back from setbacks. Self-confidence may also help them handle peer pressure and social challenges by making better decisions.

By adding the below teenage confidence-building activities to your parenting style and educational goals, you can help the young adults in your life embrace their own passions and potential.

1. Promote Self-Awareness and Self-Improvement

Help young adults to see clearly that they have both strengths and weaknesses, as we all do. Encourage them to talk about setting goals and solving problems by leveraging their strengths to address whatever challenges they face.

When teens struggle to master a skill, they may decide not to pursue it. Considering failure to be an indication that they are not capable, they may turn away from entire subjects like math or sports. Support your teen in learning that failure is part of every eventual success, and that their self-worth is strengthened by persevering toward challenging goals.

2. Value Effort More than Results

You can help young adults recognize that striving toward a goal is where self-improvement and self-discipline pay off. Rather than praising the outcome of getting an A or scoring a point, value and reward young adults for trying hard, overcoming fear, practicing regularly, and following through. These are the things they can control, and no matter the outcome this particular time, by moving ahead with the growing confidence and drive they are constantly improving themselves.

3. Teach Assertiveness Skills to Build Confidence

Model and teach assertiveness skills on a daily basis. Have some open discussions about the difference between being assertive, which is persistently (and politely) asking for what you need to achieve your goals, and being aggressive, which is being rude or pushy about getting what you want.

An assertive young adult will ask for extra help from teachers, parents, or coaches as soon as they feel they are falling behind, or ask for stretch assignments if they are bored with slow-paced coursework. These skills allow young people to achieve mastery of academic subjects, hobbies, or sports, and will serve them well in achieving their life goals. By being active seekers of what they need to succeed, teenagers build confidence, resist bullying, and gain the respect of their peers, teachers, and future employers.

4. Encourage New Experiences and Opportunities

Encourage self-esteem for teens by opening doors to new experiences and interests. Many teenagers are reluctant to try new activities because they will not immediately be good at them, but expanding skills and exploring new interests is an essential confidence-building exercise that will help them step confidently into new opportunities in the future.

Even if they try something new and it turns out not to be something they enjoy, praise them for bravely moving ahead and learning this important information. Every new experience we navigate enhances our navigational abilities for our next encounter with the unfamiliar.

5. Model Self-Confidence and Provide Guidance

Consider your own level of self-esteem and self-confidence when engaging with your child or student. Model positive self-talk when you try and fail, or when something is more challenging than you expected. Avoid saying things like “I’m so stupid!” when you make a mistake. Practice and point out how you deal with obstacles confidently, and what you would do differently next time.

Let your teenager witness how you persevere in the face of difficulties, and encourage them to do the same. Allow them to make appropriate choices on their own and talk through the results afterwards. Give young adults the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, while praising their growing resilience and decision-making abilities.

6. Help Young People Find Their Passion

When we are passionate about doing or achieving something, we grow confidence along the way. Learning, practicing, and engaging in activities and topics we are passionate about is self-rewarding and self-actualizing. There is no better way to motivate ourselves than pursuing our passion and achieving success.

Young adults are on the brink of this discovery, and self-esteem in adolescence can make the difference between finding and following their passion and feeling they are not up to the challenges they will face. Providing steady guidance and open opportunities to explore education and life experiences gives young people the best chance to step confidently toward the future of their dreams.

7. Set Young Adults Up for Success

Exploring their own interests and learning at their own pace helps young adults develop a strong sense of identity and self-esteem proportional to their achievements. Students who are struggling in their current educational or social environment may need a more focused one-to-one approach to reach their full potential.

At Lydian Academy, we believe in every student’s ability to achieve academic success with the right student-centered approach to learning. With our one-to-one Mastery Learning model, your teenager can learn at their own pace and in the way that aligns with their interests and their learning style.

With expert educators who use proven methods for building self-esteem in adolescence, our middle and high school programs are fully dedicated to your teen’s success and self-confidence. Contact us today to discuss flexible rolling enrollment options, virtual learning programs, or to tour our campuses in Burlingame and Menlo Park, California.



We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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