It’s no easy feat to engender self-esteem and build self-confidence in teenagers. Absolutely Education offers some advice for parents during this transitional time.


Every parent knows that despite the attitude, teenagers are fragile creatures. Their hormones leave them vulnerable to mood swings and confidence issues as their brains are essentially being rewired at the same time as their bodies are changing into adults. It’s important for them to develop a core sense of self-esteem at this delicate stage, because it will stay with them for life.

Encourage their passions

It’s all too easy for teenagers to become inward-looking and schools and parents should not allow them to become isolated. Spending time engaged with activities, whether educational or social, has enormous benefits for teenagers’ self-esteem and sets up positive habits for life. While it can be a challenge for parents to persuade their teens to move their focus from the inevitable screens that dominate their consciousness, it is important for young people’s confidence to develop real life interests and relationships. Participating in team sports, choirs and orchestras, school theatre groups and other collective activities will increase confidence levels and diminish levels of anxiety and emotional vulnerability. Being a part of something positive results in feeling positive about oneself and one’s surroundings.

Find the right school

Picking the right educational environment is one of the most important things a parent can do. Many schools are now recognising that adolescents are maturing socially and emotionally at a younger age than ever before and appropriate learning environments should reflect this. Maida Vale School (part of the Gardener Schools Group) has a huge focus on acting with respect, compassion and tolerance – exactly the kind of environment needed to nurture and strengthen self-confidence in teenagers as they discover the world beyond their childhoods.

Make room for failure

Mistakes or setbacks are bound to happen, and a parent’s voice can be detrimental at these times. Rather than criticising, panicking or becoming fixated on the failure, it is important to make your teen focus on what can be learnt instead. Having these kinds of discussions is essential so a teen doesn’t tie their self-worth to their achievements or failures, but instead to how well they can bounce back if things don’t go their way. Not only is this fundamental to engendering a lasting confidence, but it is also a skill they will need for life.

Take a holistic approach

Empathy is an important life skill and treating teens with sensitivity and understanding will help them to gain insight into others and to feel confident in themselves. Teenagers need to feel listened to and understood, both in social or family life, and at school. Maida Vale School takes a holistic approach when it comes to understanding teenagers, asserting that a student’s intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual growth are all inextricably linked. They believe that a school environment should be nurturing and compassionate with a sense of community that reflects in individual responsibility.

Maida Vale School (part of the Gardener Schools Group) will open its doors to students for the
first time in September 2020. To find out more visit maidavaleschool.com.


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