A father helping his teenage son with his homework

Kids who seemed confident throughout childhood struggle to maintain self-assurance during the teen years. For many, adolescence is filled with self-doubt, a questionable body-image, and insecurity.

The good news is, you can take steps to help your teen build self-esteem. Here are eight strategies that will instill life-long confidence in your teen:

1. Teach Your Teen to Balance Self-Acceptance With Self-Improvement
Teens who struggle to master a skill may conclude they’re complete failures. A teen who has difficulty with math may decide she’s not smart. Or a teen who fails to make the soccer team may decide she’ll never be good at sports.

Show your teen that it’s possible to accept her flaws while also striving to become better. Rather than label herself as “stupid,” help your teen see that while she’s struggling academically, she can still strive to become better.

2. Praise Your Teen’s Effort Instead of the Outcome
Rather than praise your teen for getting a good grade on an exam, praise her for all the studying did. Instead of saying, “Great job getting 5 points in the game,” say, “All that practicing you’ve been doing has been paying off.”

Your teen can control her effort but she can’t always control the outcome. And, you don’t want her to think she is only worthy of praise when she succeeds.

Show her that it’s important to try hard and it’s OK if she doesn’t succeed all the time.

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