Just because your teen son likes to boast about his baseball skills or says that he's the "best" soccer player in his grade, it doesn't mean that he isn't actually insecure. Between the new body changes that puberty ushers in and the more competitive nature of high school, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity are common, according to the U.S. Department of Education. You can help your teenager to gain confidence and feel more secure by taking the time to talk to your son and show him how much you really do care about his well-being.
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Chances to Succeed
While you may want your teen son to compete on the varsity baseball team, get straight A's in all advanced placement classes and lead the school as the class president, not every activity sets up your child for success. Although you shouldn't let fear and uncertainty rule your teen's world, purposefully pushing him into only classes or activities that are overly-difficult may breed even more insecurity. Instead, encourage your teen to succeed in areas that he enjoys along with a few that challenge his growing abilities. For example, if your teen enjoys drawing, sign him up for an art class at your local museum. Seeing that he can succeed in something that he enjoys can build confidence and make your teen feel less insecure about his abilities.
The unconditional love that a parent provides can help young teens to feel secure in themselves and their relationships. While your son might not seem lovey-dovey or want the hugs that your daughter craves, he still needs the security of a positive parent-child relationship. Your teen needs to know that he is part of the family and that both you and he are emotionally invested in your relationship, states Steven Stosny in "Psychology Today." Don't discount your teen son's need to hear that you love him just because he isn't your "little boy" anymore. Big kids need to feel securely loved just as much as the pint-sized ones do.
If your teen feels insecure about his school life or thinks that you don't care about what he does during the day, make yourself present and get involved in his education. While it was certainly easier to make your child feel secure about your involvement in school activities when he was younger, and opportunities such as reading to the preschool class or chaperoning the third grade Valentine's Day party were abundant, you can still participate in the educational environment in the middle and high school years. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), on their Healthy Children website, suggests that parents involve themselves through a parent-teacher organization or make a point of talking to teachers as much as possible. Your involvement in your son's schooling can help him to feel secure about how interested you are in his life and aid him in the academic process.
Although your son may put up a front that he is a macho mini-man or the strong and silent type who doesn't need anything from anyone, he still needs to hear praise from you. The AAP recommends that parents praise their teen's accomplishments as well as the efforts that they make. Praising your teen boy can help him go from insecure to confident and proud. For example, if your teen is feeling inadequate when it comes to his baseball skills, tell him what a greater hitter he is or praise his efforts to work well with the other kids.