modelling teen confidence

3 Tips to Model Teen Confidence for Your Daughter

3 Tips to Model Teen Confidence for Your Daughter

If you have an adolescent girl in your life who is struggling with teen confidence, this short-and-sweet blog is for you.

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modelling teen confidence

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When it comes to teen confidence, this idea is SO important, especially for teen girls. It can be easy to encourage our loved ones to see their strengths and to be more confident, while in the same breath, thinking or speaking negatively about ourselves. At times, there can be something a little wonky about how we treat ourselves in comparison to the ones we hold dear in this life.

If we are being honest, this can send some mixed messages to teens. This may be all the more true for teenagers, as I often hear parents say something along the lines of “I just wish ‘Suzy’ could see herself how I see her!”. In a nutshell, we can be skilled at genuinely caring about others while picking out our own “shortcomings”. The teenage years are a time of identity and growth and having self-confidence can be especially challenging when you are still figuring out who you are!

When teens receive messages that they should believe they are beautiful, competent, and that effort matters more than outcome … but then see you pointing out your own physical “flaws” or getting down on yourself for making a mistake (or simply just being human) … how does a teen make sense of that? It can be confusing and challenging, and messages from society can make it even harder.

There is no easy fix or one-and-done solution to such a dynamic and complex topic, but I will share 3 tips with you below.

>>> FREE DOWNLOAD: Depression & Anxiety Toolkit for Parents Raising Teen Girls <<<

10 tools you can immediately use to improve your female identifying teens’ mental health & build resistance against depression & anxiety:


Anxiety & Depression Toolkit for Parents Raising Teen Girls


Modelling Teen Confidence Tip #1: Think about what confidence looks like

modelling teen confidence

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We all receive messages about how confidence may look, but what is confidence really?

Going back to my teen years, I think I may have confused confidence with popularity.

I think I may have confused confidence with extraversion.

I certainly confused confidence with an appearance of not caring what others thought. Who knows what was happening beneath the surface?

I no longer see it that way.

Instead, I tend to see confidence as a dynamic way of being that is multi-layered and multi-faceted. Sometimes confidence is quiet, sometimes it is loud. To me, confidence is a willingness to learn, to grow, and to be wrong. Confidence is standing up for what is right even when it may be hard. It is knowing that your value goes deeper than whatever label may be tossed your way.


Modelling Teen Confidence Tip #2: Be the type of person you hope your daughter becomes

Internet rules for teens are a hot topic amongst parents, particularly as friendships are increasingly going or starting online for teens.

Parents bring up concerns about safety, appropriate messages, and cyberbullying.

Teens, in response, talk about how important the online platforms are for them to stay in contact with their friends or how “uncool” they would be to not be active on certain platforms.


Modelling Teen Confidence Tip #3: Have an honest talk

modelling teen confidence

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Societal messages are not always kind or helpful, and there are a whole lot of messages out there about who we should or should not be. As a woman, I can certainly say that I have received many subtle and not-so-subtle messages about my worth being linked to my physical appearance.

 For some parents, it can be helpful to have an honest talk with their teen that having self-confidence and positive self-talk can genuinely be challenging. Creating some sort of “agreement” to encourage each other and gently challenge unhelpful and untrue thoughts can bring awareness, transparency, and mutual support. This isn’t meant to be a formal contract, but rather, an acknowledgement that having self-confidence is not a challenge that occurs only in the teen years. You can use the 7 qualities teens need for an unbreakable mindset as a starting point, in my colleagues blog article HERE.


This is a complex topic that I have barely scratched the surface of, but I hope these tips give you something to think about. If you have some thoughts, I would love to hear them! You can email our team with questions at

Or, you can BOOK YOUR FREE CONSULTATION with me to create a personalized plan for you, and set up ongoing support for your daughter.


Jessa Tiemstra

Provisional Psychologist servicing teen girls and young adults.



Jessa is a provisional psychologist living and servicing teens and young adults in Calgary, Alberta.

Jessa is passionate about helping people become the best version of themselves and is continually learning how to best support her clients. She has experience with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but most importantly she emphasizes the therapeutic relationship.

A safe, authentic relationship is key for therapy to work. Jessa prioritizes compassion and nonjudgmental curiosity. Together, she can find out what matters most to you and how to get there.

If you think Jessa may be a good match for you, please feel free to reach out and set up a free consult or book a session. She is looking forward to hearing from you!

Once a month, she writes a blog article in response to issues she hears from the parents, teens and young adults she connects with. If you have something you’d like to read more on – email ideas and questions to or DM us via Instagram or Facebook.



My Teen Doesn’t Have A Lot of Friends – Should I Be Concerned?

I’ve had parents mention some concern about their teens only having 1 – 2 friends… Is this something to be concerned or worried about?

Having friends and changes in friendships are a very normal process for teens and their identity development – at different times we all have different people in our lives. Teens are going through that process right now, figuring out what type of people they want in their lives.

There are  some factors that may lean your teen towards wanting a small friend group. For example, if they are a little more introverted – or have introverted qualities – or maybe they feel most connected in close, intimate relationships.

I remember my middle school self – I got along well with a lot of my peers, but I really just had this one friend – she and I spent a ton of time together. She had this electric keyboard and we would hang out all weekend and write parody songs together. We had a blast! I just had the one close friend, really. And that was great for me.

So I think it depends on where your teen is at with having just one to two friends. If those two friendships are really close, good friendships, that makes a big difference.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Questions to Ask

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when it comes to your teen’s friendships:

  • Does our teen enjoy spending time with their friend(s)?
  • Is your teen saying or are you noticing behaviours indicating they may want more friends?
  • Do they seem satisficed with their friend groups?

Whether your teen has lots of friends or just a few, there are other elements that are more important.

Other Things At Play

It’s important to recognize if this is a preference thing, or if there is something else at play. 

Does your teen need to work on social skills? Confidence?

Consider how this might be getting in their way of making friends. If these skills are missing or underdeveloped, it can be really challenging for teens to make or keep friends.

It is important not to assume here. Ask your teen about their friend group – get to know how they see their friendships and what they value about them. In lending a curious ear, you may learn more about whether this is a preference, or their way of bei

ng, or if there are underlying difficulties or challenges that are preventing them from making more friends? If you discover your teen is really shy and strugglin

g to with talking to others, check out this blog I wrote just for them: How to Get Past The Shy: 4 Conversation Tips for Teens.

Something to Think About

One thing to consider is asking yourself if your concern is something that is coming from a projection of your experience growing up, or something you experienced as a teen. It can be helpful to practice a little self-reflection on your own friendships growing up and how that might impact the way you view your teen’s friendships. It might also lend itself to having empathy for your teen’s friendship woes as they come up. What were your friendships like? What were some things that were difficult with relationships?

Check-in with yourself and see if there’s a bit of parallel with your own experiences when you were younger.


If you found this post helpful, pass it on by emailing a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook – thank you!

Chantal Côté, R.Psych, Pyramid Psychology – helping older children, teens, and young adults learn how to build bulletproof mindsets.

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4 Conversation Tips for Teens: Getting Past the Shy

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A lot of teens have been saying to me lately that they are unsure how to start up conversations with people or keep conversations going. If feeling shy is part of the issue, this blog article with conversation tips is for you!

Here are the four tips on how to better your conversations, meet people and feel more confident:

Conversation Tips #1: Pay Attention to Your Inner Critic/Voice

What is your self-talk saying to you? What labels does it give you? I’ve heard teens that I work with say ‘I’m shy, I’ll just screw up, I don’t know what to talk about, etc.” Pay attention to the messages your inner critic is saying about your ability to have conversations.

Once you have awareness of that, you can start to think about what your goal is when it comes to talking to others. What do you want to be able to do in your conversation with others? What would it be like to have a good conversation? 

Photo by Anne Nygard on Unsplash

Try the following ladder exercise to begin changing what your inner critic is saying and increase your confidence with conversations.

First, imagine someone who is really good at conversations – Is it someone you know? A friend or an adult in your life?  What do you notice about the way they have conversations? What are some things they are saying? What do you imagine their inner voice says to them about talking to others. Some examples of things they might be thinking or saying:  ‘I’m a people person, I have lots to say, I’m confident, I’ve got this, I’m good at talking to people, etc.’ 

Picture a ladder, with the top of the ladder representing your ideal thought about having conversations; the version of you that is great at talking to others is at the top of the ladder!

Take a look at that ladder and think about where your thoughts are right now – maybe they are somewhere in the middle or towards the bottom – and imagine each rung is one step closer to being a confident conversationalist.

There are two things needed to move up the ladder (picture needing both hands to climb a real ladder – you move your left hand up, and then your right, left, right, etc.) Your left hand is like your inner game; When you practice changing what your inner voice is saying, to more confident thoughts. Your right is the tactile game; actually going out and doing the talking/practicing.

Conversation Tips #2: Ask Questions or Share A Compliment

Some tactile tips that teens have shared with me are:

Tip #1 Ask a question (people generally like talking about themselves). Be curious about them! Asking open-ended questions is helpful here, which are questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no” like Did you see that movie? Try instead, What movies have you watched lately? What did you like best about the book we read in class? How did you figure out the assignment today?

Tip #2 Compliment someone. It has to be an authentic, genuine compliment. Really faking it will be felt by the other person. But if you see something you like that someone is wearing or doing, it’s okay to say it. Something like “that’s a really cool t-shirt, did you buy it at ….? No? Where did you buy it?” 

Conversation Tips #3: Scroll Social Media for Topics to Talk About

Another thing I’m hearing teens say is that they don’t have anything interesting to say. This is where social media can be your sidekick! If you’re interested in specific topics like politics, social justice, sci-fi, fashion, exercise, environmentalism, etc., you can look them up and find information so you have things to chat about. It doesn’t matter what you’re drawn to, scrolling a bit can help you find things that interest you so you have something to bring to the conversation. You don’t have to know everything about it. Just a little.

If you’re still a little stuck, here are 120+ conversation starters by Cheeky Kid to get you started! Remembering just a few of these will be a helpful conversation tool to have in your back pocket.

Conversation Tips #4: Get Out of Your Head

Once you’ve worked on your inner critic and have some topics to discuss, you’ll be using your right hand on your ladder (remember that’s the tactile side) to practice real conversations.

Sometimes while we’re in a conversation we get stuck in our head. So we’re worried about what we’re going to say instead of listening to what the other person says. And often if we actually listen to the other person, that can be enough to get us to the next level.

Photo by Alex Quezada on Unsplash

If you’re in your head thinking “what am I going to say next, what am I going to say next” it can be a slippery slope.

Stop and listen. Be in the moment. Some ways you can stay present are:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Push your feet against the ground and notice the feeling.
  • Focus on a physical feature of the person – look at their eyes or their lips for example.
  • Try out the mindful/being present exercises in this article by Positive Psychology to make being present a common part of your life.


If you love to read, I recommend checking out The Teen’s Guide to Social Skills: Practical Advice for Building Empathy, Self-Esteem, and Confidence.

And remember to BE YOU! There’s nobody quite like you. If you need a little reminder on why being you is the best way to be, you can read my article The Social Chameleon: 10 Reasons Why You Want to Be Yourself.


If you found this post helpful, pass it on by emailing a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook – thank you!

Chantal Côté, R.Psych, Pyramid Psychology – helping older children, teens, and young adults learn how to build bulletproof mindsets.