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    How to build my 17-year-old's self-confidence? She is losing interest in studies and has to appear for the board exams. She gets frustrated and angry if I tell her to study

    Team ParentCircle Answered by Team ParentCircle


    Dear Parent,

    This can be tough on any parent - getting their child to study! Unfortunately, teenage years turn into a battle of wills in many families. With the following strategies, you could help your teen gain confidence and also establish a connection with her (which is what she needs right now, even though she may act like she doesn’t):

    1. Have open ongoing conversations with your teen on a daily basis—even if your daughter tells you something you don’t approve of, fight off the urge to jump in with your judgments and dislikes. Try to hear her out with patience and help her figure out her own path.

    2. Resist the urge to lecture her about studies. That’s incredibly off-putting for any teen (or adult!) who feels they know better. Instead, ask her what her goals are for this year (and the next). And how she plans to achieve them. If she does plan on getting (say) 80% what are the things she needs to do? Having open conversations like these will help your teen know that you’re on her side. Ask her how she’d like you to support her.

    3. Help her balance her life (both academic pursuits, extra-curricular activities, hobbies, time with friends and family) by drafting a weekly timetable for herself, to prioritize what’s important to her and manage her time better. Also emphasize to your teen the importance of getting adequate sleep, regular physical exercise, and a nutritious diet. These go a long way in keeping her mind and body healthy.

    4. It is extremely important for you to encourage her to pursue whatever activities she shows interest in. Don’t push her but give her a gentle nudge time and again. If she displays resistance to do something or is unable to do something well, talk to her about her feelings. You could ask “How did you feel when you came in last in swimming?” Focus on her effort, rather than the outcome. You could say “It was really courageous of you to try” rather than saying “Don’t feel bad about coming in last.”

    5. Don’t give false praise. Teens can very easily discern when we are being truthful and when not.

    6. Help her focus on her strengths. Talk to her about what she likes about herself. Use everyday situations to point out good qualities in her. In some families, I recommend spelling out the teen’s name and brainstorming one positive quality with each letter and sticking this up on the fridge for everyone to see.

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