Part 2: Help your daughter feel strong and confident every day

Part 2: Help your daughter feel strong and confident every day

More topics to get your teen to open up, and how to help build her confidence for a happy, healthy life.

Teenage years can be tough, so by giving her the opportunity to vent her frustrations, ask for advice or just hear that you understand, because you’ve been there too, really helps. Sadly, teens don’t come with a handbook or helpful website so, here, we show you how to broach some other sticky subjects…

Body confidence

Social media sites are incredibly popular with young girls, and can make them think they need to look a certain way. If your daughter is spending lots of time looking at these sites, talk to her about it. Ask who she follows and what she thinks about them. Ask her if looking at them makes her feel happy or worried, does she feel more or less confident after clicking on them? If they make her feel bad about herself, explain that it’s not a good idea to expose yourself to things that make you feel lousy. Encourage her to look at who she follows, and think about losing people who do this, and adding people who inspire her, from Olympic athletes to talented actresses, hilarious comedians, to brilliant chefs. Also, encourage her to log off and spend time away from the screen regularly with people or activities that make her feel good about herself.

Lead by example by not being a slave to your phone, and by being active and making healthy, balanced, nutritious meals. If she mentions a faddy diet, explain that it isn’t realistic or healthy to restrict how you eat. If she wants to eat healthily, tell her that’s great, then sit together and plan meals you are both happy to have.

Consistently point out her positives, from her big brown eyes to her shiny hair, and encourage her to enjoy her talents, whether that’s an artistic streak or athletic prowess. Building that inner confidence will give her a buffer to negative influences. And ban all ‘fat talk’ relating to her or yourself, even if it’s jokey. Let her know that exercise should be fun and make her feel good, rather than look good.

Cyber safety

Of course, kids want to use social media, but you need to explain the pitfalls to keep your daughter safe. Discuss predators, online bullying, sexting and what it’s safe to share. Explain the impact of pictures – that while it’s fun for their friends to see them, they may not want a stranger to, but if they’re on the internet it’s possible. Tell them that before they post a picture or update their status, to think whether they’d happily stick that picture or those words on two walls: one in their classroom at school and one at home where you could walk past and see it. This will hopefully make her stop and think. 

Regularly ask your daughter if she has experienced any nastiness online. If she has, reassure her that the bullying isn’t her fault and explain that bullies like to get a reaction, so not to respond. Listen to her and don’t become angry. Providing a safe place for her to talk will mean she feels safe and calm. Often these situations resolve themselves without adult involvement but discuss what she would like you to do.


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Explain that online trolls hide behind a screen, which means that they are weak not strong. Rather than falling into their trap and responding, encourage your daughter to ignore or block them and spend time with people who care about her. Encourage your daughter to always try to be positive in her own cyber life, never saying anything online that she wouldn’t want said to her, or that she wouldn’t say to somebody’s face.

Exam pressure

If your daughter is stressed out come exam season, help her plan her revision. Ask which subjects she’s worried about, when the exams are and help her draw up a timetable. Break it into four 50-minute slots a day and schedule downtime, too, with suggestions for what to do in those breaks. Suggest she can properly relax by walking the dog, chatting to a friend or watching TV, and make daily exercise and fresh air part of the plan.

Create a calm space away from siblings – and you – unless she finds it comforting to have you nearby to ask questions as she goes. If she gets stressed or upset, provide perspective. Explain that nothing will sink into her brain when she’s worn out, stressed out and wrung out, and she’d be better off having a break and going back to it later or even the next day with a fresh mind.

Be honest about your exam experiences; if you felt disappointed with your grades because you slacked off on your revision, admit that. If you did awesomely well because you made the world’s best color-coded charts for every subject, tell her that, too. It helps her to remember you’ve been through it! Encourage her to think about her plans for her future and why good grades will help. If she wants to be a veterinarian, say, she’ll need to go to college, and without the grades, it won’t be possible.

Reward her efforts throughout – not just at the end, so if she puts her head down for the day, tell her she can go have some fun with her friends. Ask what she needs from you, and provide all the ‘stuff’ that will help, from healthy snacks, to highlighter pens, past papers to pretty notebooks.

How do you help improve your daughter’s self-esteem? Tell us below in the comments…

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