Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle. (Christian D. Larson).
– Desiree Panlilio
As a parent, you are not raising kids. You are raising adults. You are raising a friend, a spouse, future leaders, and change agents of the world. There’s a thought. No pressure, just the weight of the future resting in your hands. As dramatic as that sounds, as parents we are creating the future and our responsibility is to nurture our children who will live a life of greatness within their sphere of influence. How do we do that? In a simple statement we help to maximize our teen’s potential which is done by growing their confidence.
In our goal to be great parents, we often shield and rescue our children from anything that is challenging, disappointing, uncomfortable, or makes them unhappy. In doing this, we disable them, we don’t help them to develop the skills and resilience to overcome any of life’s uncomfortable events. I know we may call these events “failures.” I call them hurdles to success. It creates a growth mindset in our teens by helping them to turn those setbacks into opportunities and learn and grow from them. This builds a reserve of knowledge and capabilities for them to use the next time your teen is faced with a hurdle. So instead of rescuing your teen, lean into the learning opportunities with them, help them to discover their strength and ability to find the solution and to execute that solution with you cheering them on in the background. Creating a growth mindset helps your teen realize that they are capable and can overcome situations that are frustrating, disappointing, and uncomfortable. It is an important way to develop their confidence.
What is an example of how to do that? Your teen comes home from school with a failing grade. As tempting as it is to engage the grade with the school (what parent doesn’t ask what extra credit can my teen do, to improve their grade?) or to blame your teen (who hasn’t said, if you didn’t go to that party you would have passed). Instead change the conversation. Ask your teen, “What is next? How are you going to improve that grade? What are your goals?” and maybe you have to help your teen create goals, or perhaps you need a teen life coach.
Next, let your teen know they are able to take risks. Encourage them to experiment and stretch a little further than is comfortable and safe. Let them experience hurdles under your roof where they can find support and guidance in processing the results and managing the consequences and emotions that come with not succeeding. This helps them to learn how to make a better decision and move forward positively. Let them laugh at mistakes and feel the rush of accomplishment. Be their biggest cheerleader and mentor. An example could be trying out for a different sports team, running for student office, or asking someone out for a date. Celebrate the risk in participating and the outcome in the growth your teen experienced in taking the risk.
Lastly, let them know they are able to handle future situations. When new situations are presented, and as your teenager gains confidence, listen with curiosity, ask questions, help your teen to see and understand consequences. Encourage your teen to use the skills and tools that they are accumulating with you encouraging them. As a parent you have kept a growth mindset that is a part of the growth zone where you have encouraged and fostered your teenagers ongoing personal development. This will allow your teenager to become capable of managing themselves and just about any situation they may face as an adult. They become confident, capable young adults that will shape and change their world.