• How To Build Self-Confidence In Your Teenager | Dr. Melanie McNally | Episode 129

  • Build self-confidence in your teenagerWe hear a lot about our children needing to be more resilient, better able to handle challenges and disappointments. One way a parent can help is to build self-confidence in your teenager. Self-confidence can help them take reasonable risks and reach for goals. It can change the way they see themselves and interact with the world. Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler interviews Dr. Melanie McNally to find out why our teens and twenty somethings are struggling and how parents can help.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “99% of the time our teens don’t want us to fix things for them. If we go into problem-solving mode it causes them to shut down. They just want us to listen.”

    High Points of Our Conversation on How to Build Self-Confidence in Your Teenager:

    let teenagers fix it themselves to build self-confidenceWe have a lot of teens and young adults who are struggling to go outside their comfort zone. They are afraid to try anything new or to take any risks. This can dampen their self-confidence.

    Parents encourage it by over protection. We put so many supports in place that our kids don’t experience any discomfort. This hurts their self-confidence and discourages them from even trying new things.

    One way parents can build self-confidence in teenagers is to encourage self-care. We need to practice it ourselves as a way of gently guiding and teaching them to practice it. 

    We can build their self-esteem by building their self-awareness. Parents can do this by asking open-ended questions and not commenting on or judging their answers.

      • Why do you think that didn’t work out?
      • Why do you think that was so upsetting for you?
      • Why do you want to do that?

    The stakes get bigger as our kids get older so it’s best to start today.

    Helping our teenagers and twenty somethings too much, or doing things for them, sends the message that we don’t think they can handle it.

    Our own feelings of discomfort or failure, compounded by our fear for our children, can push us to be over involved.

    Support should look like guidance without intrusion. Even though we can predict where a problem will occur or they are likely to fail, it is not our job to point it out. 

    It’s important to encourage your teen to step outside their comfort zone. One way of doing this is stepping outside of your own comfort zone.

    When parents point out a teenager’s mistakes, or correct them, it causes teens to stop sharing.

    When your teen starts talking and you feel the urge to say something, bite your tongue. Take a slow, deep breath, pause, then slowly release it. Oftentimes that is enough space for them to start sharing. They tend to drop a small tidbit to see how we’ll react. If we are calm and nonjudgemental then they’ll open up.

    Venting is only healthy to a point. If your teen wants to spend time complaining you can suggest they take a set amount of time to vent then switch to problem solving.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

     Counting Dragonflies – This is a novel about a 7th grade girl who is very dissatisfied with many things in her life. It incorporates a lot of mental health habits in an indirect way. She learns how to manage stress and anxiety throughout the story. She learns about mindfulness, mantras, how to share her feelings in a healthy way and how to reach out to others when she needs it. Kids can read the story and see the mental health habits in an indirect way. This allows them to start thinking about how they can incorporate these strategies into their own lives.

    Our Guest Dr Melanie McNally:

    Dr Melanie McNally build self-confidence in teensDr. Melanie McNally helps teens and young adults become the super heroes of their life stories. She provides online support through teletherapy, virtual groups, private online communities, courses, and books that are all aimed at teaching teens and young adults how to manage stress and anxiety, develop coping tools, and learn how to like themselves, flaws and all. She wrote Counting Dragonflies, a novel for teens and tweens, about a girl who learns how to love herself, despite the difficulties she’s faced. An accompanying workbook will be out soon. Dr. McNally has worked in the mental health field since 2005 and teaches the skills, strategies, and tools that she herself has used and continues to use to manage anxiety. She and her husband and 3 dogs sometimes live in rural Wisconsin and other times live in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://destinationyou.net 

    Our Sponsors:

    Save The Children – help a child get through the pandemic www.savethechildren.org/savekids

    The Great Courses Plus—Streaming courses to keep your family entertained, learning and growing. (30 day free trial at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/mightyparenting)

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