Building Confidence in Kids & Teens

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

We all want to help our kids in every stage of life, whether it’s cutting up food for a toddler or helping a teen navigate college applications. At certain ages, though, children and adolescents should feel confident in their abilities to do some things for themselves. That’s confidence and self-reliance at their core.

What skillsets should kids know in order to become self-reliant? How can we tell, as our children grow, when we should parent and when our loved ones should be leading the charge? And how can we help shape our kids into empowered and responsible adults while keeping their mental health in mind?

Audience Questions

Join us as David H. Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP, shares tips and tricks about teaching confidence and self-reliance, offers insight into when we should be letting our loved ones lead, and answers audience questions about how these skills can lead to better overall mental health.

  • What are the mental health benefits to being self-reliant?
  • How can we incorporate interdependence and independence into our kid’s maturation process?
  • What does self-reliance look like in kids? Does self-reliance look different in teens versus kids?
  • How do we drive that point home of “I’m here for you” without being overbearing as a parent or guardian? Is there any language you’d suggest using?
  • If your kids aren’t reaching out to you for interdependent engagement, how do I deal with that? How can you engage with a detached child or teen?
  • If a parent has recognized that they’ve had “helicopter parenting” behaviors, how can they start teaching their kids to be self-sufficient without having it be too mentally or emotionally jarring for both parents and kids?
  • How can we provide validation if our kids are disengaged?
  • As kids grow up it can be hard for parents to let go of helping their kids out. What are some key indicators that kids are becoming more self-reliant and confident—and that parents can loosen the reins a little?
  • How can parents convey perceived support?
  • Can a lack of engagement relate to executive functioning or anxiety? If so, how can parents teach resourcefulness and empower their child when validation does not work?
  • Our family is moving and my daughter, who suffers from social anxiety and depression, will not talk to us about how she is feeling (about switching schools, etc.) How do I offer support without making her feel more overwhelmed?
  • What mental or emotional tools should our kids learn in order to become more self-reliant and independent without losing that interdependency?
  • How can family members offer support if their culture doesn’t necessarily encourage it?
  • What are the perks of teaching our kids to be confident? How can we teach our kids to be confident without being arrogant?
  • How can we encourage our teens/young adults to take on more responsibility?
  • Are there downsides to our loved ones being too self-reliant? Is it possible to be too self-reliant?
  • How can you help bring a kid back from avoidant attachment?
  • What can a parent do if their child is too independent and sees their role as that of an adult rather than a teen?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

About Dr. Rosmarin

David H. Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP, is the director of the Spirituality and Mental Health Program at McLean Hospital and an associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He supervises the provision of spiritually integrated services in clinical programs throughout the hospital’s divisional structure and collaborates with laboratories to study the clinical relevance of spirituality to anxiety, mood, psychotic, substance use, and other disorders.

Learn more about Dr. Rosmarin.

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Originally aired on March 31, 2022