5 Conversations to Increase Confidence in Teens

Whew.  Being a teenager is complicated.  You are stuck between kid-dom and adulthood…and sometimes that isn’t the most comfortable of places!

These ideas for teen confidence were inspired by our sponsor, Invisalign Teen ® clear aligners, who recently completed a survey on the subject.  They are sharing what they learned by launching a Teen Confidence Campaign to help parents navigate through tough issues around peer pressure, teasing and appearance that they are dealing with everyday.

5 conversations to increase teen confidence

I look back on my teenage years with a bit of cringing, but overall I weathered it well.  I think there were some key conversations I had that set me in the right path.  The bottom line is that we want to equip our kids with the ability to make an informed decision and then feel confident in it.

5 Conversations to Increase Confidence in Teens

#1:  I will back you up – It was my first date and my dad took me aside and said that whatever crazy story I made up to get home by curfew {or anytime}, he would back me up.  He played out a silly scenario of a ridiculous situation and how if I came home with that story or any other, he would be nodding and confirming in front of my date.  It gave me freedom to know that I didn’t have to be the bad guy, my parents would take that role if it was easier for me at the time.

#2:  Practice saying “no” – This is something many adults have such a difficult time with…no wonder it is hard for teens.  I am not just talking about serious situations where a “no” is needed, but also small decisions that can help teens get confident in using the word.  It is freeing to know that you can say no without a disclaimer, excuse or explanation.  Encouraging teens to try the word no without justification can free them to choose it when it is even more important.

#3:  It is OK to fail –  So much importance is put on achievement these days, but often life teaches the best lessons in the middle of a failure.  Sports give the perfect example of learning through consistent mistakes.  But if you have a non-sports-inclined child, grab a board game and host a family game night!  Gracefully losing is a skill that may take more than a few tries to perfect…but that is part of the process!

#4:  Active listening – As adults, we often perfect the preaching/teaching component of a conversation and forget the listening part.  That is particularly difficult for teens who need to be heard.  If active listening is a problem for you, then start by thinking about it as tossing a ball back and forth – the one with the ball has the floor.  This visualization can start making the process a habit.  When adults model this behavior, it is much easier for teens to follow.

#5:  Play the “how would you” game – Teens {like us all} love to give their opinion.  Feeding into this can be a really strong role-playing strategy that can be a fun and natural part of conversation.  Whether it is a news story, hypothetical situation or a conversation sparked by a friend’s predicament, following some facts with the question “how would you” handle the problem can be a lot of fun!  Take the answer with a judgment-free tone and ask leading questions to get the whole story.  Start with lighter, sillier conversations if a teen is hesitant to give their opinion.

teen confidence survey

Teen Confidence Survey Results

The makers of Invisalign Teen clear aligners commissioned a Teen Confidence Survey that pinpointed data around self-esteem and peer pressure.  The results show that while kids face many of the same issues that teens have for generations, the world is a different place today!  Here are a few things they learned:

  • 54  percent  of teens felt their life would be better without social media.
  • 40  percent feel their appearance is being judged more closely on social media than in person.
  • 90 percent of teens think their appearance influences their popularity.

While it is a major goal to help kids build inner-strength and self-esteem, ignoring a teen’s appearance can cause a lot of issues.  For many kids, braces are a big and often negative part of their teen years:

  • 57 percent of teens are embarrassed to have crooked teeth vs. only 23 percent of moms {thought the same thing}.
  • 41 percent of teens feel wearing traditional braces is embarrassing: only 18 percent of moms agree.

Teens straightening their teeth with Invisalign Teen clear aligners say their self-esteem was boosted while in treatment.

Free Interactive Pocket Guide to “Unbrace Teen Confidence”

Unbrace Teen Confidence Pocket Guide

The Invisalign Teen brand collaborated with top parenting expert and author, Erika Katz, to use this survey data to assist parents.

It is free!  You can get it by clicking here:  Invisalign Unbrace Teen Confidence

Oh!  Also, as a part of the campaign, Invisalign Teen is making a donation to DoSomething.org – an organization that builds teen confidence by creating opportunities for them to drive positive change in the world.  Click here to learn how you can help.


Kids Activities Blog is excited to be working with the maker’s of Invisalign Teen clear aligners again this year.  Holly Homer is an Invisalign Teen brand spokesperson and thrilled to be talking about her Invisalign treatment experience as well as starting  a new Invisalign Teen clear aligners journey with one of her boys.  This is a paid position.  All opinions expressed are her own.  Full disclosure.