Building Self-Confidence & Resilience in Our Teens



I LOVE Brené Brown. I show her clip on empathy anytime I have the opportunity (  For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, she is a researcher at University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Her work focuses upon vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her TEDx talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the five most viewed TED talks in the world.

You may ask, what does Brené Brown have to do with teens and this blog? One of her central tenets is the power of connection. All of us, big, small, young, old need connection to survive and thrive.   It’s in our neurobiology. What Brown finds is that shame impedes connection. What she defines as shame is that part of us that says, “I’m not _______________enough.” (fill in your own word).

That voice that says “I’m not ___________ enough” is usually what keeps us from moving out of our comfort zone or going for a goal. Some of us are better than others at quieting that voice, or just have less of that voice. I believe strong self-confidence, meaning believing in yourself, is what fights against or prevents that voice.

So, how do we build healthy self-confidence and resilience in our teens?  I define resilience as the ability to withstand stress and catastrophe. Withstanding doesn’t mean we don’t experience it or feel it, but that we get through it and move forward, rather than staying “stuck” in the experience.

One of the best ways of building resilience is modeling it ourselves. When we show our teens how we “recover” from experiences, we are teaching them how to handle their own disappointments. When we allow and even expect our teens to make mistakes, we are helping them to grow.

I’ve talked about it before, but I will say it again. Practice unconditional love and support. This doesn’t mean liking everything your teen does or being a “pushover”, but letting them know you love them no matter what. When teens have a secure base to come home to, they feel safe, contained, and more confident.

Believe in your teen and their ability to thrive. We all have strengths; find them in your teen, even if they’re different than yours or what you want them to be. Be their champion. If you don’t believe in them, how will they believe in themselves?

What things do you do to build confidence in your teens?

On a different note, we at TEEN LINE wish everyone who celebrates a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are grateful for all of you for reading.

In the next few weeks, you can expect to see some guest bloggers as well as biweekly, instead of weekly, blogs. We don’t want you to get tired of us!

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  1. Jenny Eidinger says:

    I was just quoting her book Rising Strong to a friend who is feeling consumed by panic! She is wonderful!! Thanks for putting this up!

    1. TEEN LINE says:

      Thanks Jenny for your comment! Brene Brown definitely is a great resource on many topics!

  2. Val says:

    I love your blog post. I would welcome any ideas you may have on books to provide to my teenage daughter (15) who is struggling with self-esteem and body issues. I love Brene Brown as well. Any specific titles from Brene or other authors? Thanks in advance.

  3. Jessica Kramer says:

    I am looking for audiobooks similar to Brené’s that I can listen to with my 13 and 11 year old girls.
    Brené’s vocabulary is beyond where they are and her message is more directed to older teens and mostly adults who are parents. Can you please suggest some? I do really want audiobooks so we can listen when we travel together and it will encourage some discussion since my 13 year has difficulty opening up. Thanks

  4. Jody says:

    Great post! I’m going back and reading her first book about shame and finding it so useful in my work with teenagers and my own teens!

    1. TEEN LINE says:

      Thanks for reaching out Jody! Her work is so relevant to teens (and adults too)!

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