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Has anyone had success in raising their timid teen's confidence?

(22 Posts)
adynerfa Fri 09-Nov-18 14:38:37

I've always been able to coax her out of her comfort zone so she has always done extra curriculars in and out of school, even when no-one she knew was doing it. This was confidence building but as she's reached 14, 15, 16 - more inhibition has set in and she's more resistant to doing new stuff without a friend in tow. She's not very assertive around people she does not know well.

She does have an inner confidence with regards to her abilities and she plays a sport out of school with girls from all different schools.

She'll be doing D of E silver next year so perhaps the volunteering part could be something that would help boost her social confidence. I often think working with different ages, either older or younger people can be beneficial but I am out of ideas. She's in Year 11 if that makes any difference. We're looking carefully at 6th form options trying to find the best fit for her.

I'm probably not articulating myself very well - I'm home ill from work today and typing from bed.

To summarise:

DD 16 at times timid and inhibited
Need ideas of how I can help her boost her social confidence
If that can be tied up with D of E volunteering then great but all ideas are welcome

OP’s posts: |
pippistrelle Fri 09-Nov-18 15:57:17

It sounds to me like she's doing and achieving quite a lot for someone you describe as timid.

What else is it you would like her to be doing, or is it all about how she is feeling about these things?

What did she do for her Bronze D of E volunteering?

adynerfa Fri 09-Nov-18 16:18:22

Someone we know has a charitable business and she did some work for them - but it was also alongside a friend.

I'd like her to feel more self-assured, like she is entitled to take her space in the world. I want her to be able to assert herself better with people she doesn't know well. I know she's still young and these things develop later in some people She's a really easy going teenager - which is great for a parent - but I am also seeing the down-point of that as she doesn't always assert her own wants and needs.

OP’s posts: |
greencatbluecat Fri 09-Nov-18 18:14:18

I'd like her to feel more self-assured, like she is entitled to take her space in the world. I want her to be able to assert herself better with people she doesn't know well.

The above is very interesting OP. I don't have any real advice because my Dd2 who is 14 is worse. There's absolutely no way she will even do a sleepover. However, you have helped me OP with the above.

lyndar Fri 09-Nov-18 19:07:50

It sounds like anxiety and so I would recommend she needs to see a doctor
Too many people mistake shyness for anxiety in my opinion .
Anxiety is when you want to take part in things and talk but can't
Shyness is when you take a while to warm up so to speak

lyndar Fri 09-Nov-18 19:08:24

If she's shy it's part of her personality so just accept her for what she is

BarbarianMum Sat 10-Nov-18 08:29:48

I think you may find that this is something that comes with age. Certainly she doesnt sound over-anxious to me.

catweather Sat 10-Nov-18 08:39:11

I was an incredibly shy awkward teenager. My parents encouraged me to get a weekend job as a waitress and it was the best thing they could have done. For my first shift I felt sick every time I had to speak to a customer, but I had no choice and after a few weeks it wasn't scary at all. It gave me the confidence to go up and talk to strangers in all areas of my life. Fifteen years later I still feel shy but nobody would ever guess and it hasn't stopped me doing anything, from traveling to building a career. I'd really advise gently forcing your daughter out of her comfort zone.

adynerfa Sat 10-Nov-18 09:01:01

Thanks everyone. I don't think she is very anxious. I have DD2 who suffers with anxiety but DD1 has always just got on with everything that has been expected of her.

DD1 has the timidity. She has an outer calm and inner confidence over her abilities. She had situations where she didn't act timid - eg being vocal on the sports field - but I see her retreating. I believe it's the age for social anxiety to start to hit so I would like to help her curb the retreat.

I should have posted this in teens but I posted it in Secondary Schools because we're currently looking at 6th forms and I've been wondering where socially she'd be best. Options are huge 6th form college, state school 6th forms which get a good intake of pupils from other schools, staying at current selective school 6th form.

Anyway back to the job. A job would be good for her and voluntary work that mimics a job could be good for D of E and using as experience to get a paid p/t job. Did anyone's teen work in a charity shop?

OP’s posts: |
MedSchoolRat Sat 10-Nov-18 09:09:49

I have my own teen DC & I interview teenagers as part of my job.
Most of them HATE talking to strangers!
But give them a role, like working in a shop, that's a cloak they pull on & can handle it reasonably well.

Can you give an example when she didn't take care of getting her needs met, or accepted something she didn't want just because she couldn't assert herself? It is important not to be a doormat.

I know every story is unique... but whenever I read stories of women who didn't report sexual assault, I'm astonished how many simply thought they didn't deserve any better that this was just their lot in life to get treated so badly. Never Again. I don't want in my dotage to still be reading a plethora of such historical stories not reported at the time.

lyndar Sat 10-Nov-18 15:48:43

@adynerfa ask her if she gets too nervous to speak ; does she blush easily if yes this is anxiety
I agree with desensitisin g her to situations : encourage her to chat to others when you are out and about and teach her that nobody can feel or see her nervousness and that she just has to act confident
By being assertive what examples have you got ? Some people are just nice or naive people

TheSmallAssassin Sun 11-Nov-18 01:07:02

My teen worked in a charity shop once a week after school for his D of E, they apparently host them regularly! I'm sure your local shops would be glad of the help too.

CraftyGin Sun 11-Nov-18 06:06:23

Is she happy?

adynerfa Mon 12-Nov-18 09:14:49

Yes - she is happy. And I am not trying to change her. I'm just trying to kill two birds with one stone. In advising her over D of E volunteering, what might be good things for her to do to practice finding her voice and growing her confidence.

Yes - you're right lyndar, she sometimes does blush and maybe she doesn't speak up around others because she is anxious. I was similar. My other DD's anxiety more comes from worrying about doing things less than perfectly.

OP’s posts: |
pippistrelle Mon 12-Nov-18 09:31:31

My own timid teen has just started volunteering in a charity shop for her D of E Bronze: she's already getting such a lot out of it, and there's a definite confidence boost. Even just finding the place boosted her confidence. Many of our local charity shops seem geared up for D of E volunteers but most were only accepting over 16s (some sort of recent change in insurance rules). My daughter is 14 but if yours is 16 already, then so she should find one who are happy to have her with no trouble.

User19991999 Mon 12-Nov-18 10:37:12

Public speaking group? There's nothing quite like it my view to boost confidence. It's terrifying to get up in front of a group of people you don't know at all and speak. But you get better at it as time passes.

Go with her. There are public speaking groups all over the country. Toastmasters as well.

How do you assert yourself? By getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

User19991999 Mon 12-Nov-18 10:38:32

And it's a life skill that's not taught in this country. You need it in so many careers, especially once you reach managerial level and are regularly having to assert yourself in group meetings etc.

Middlrm Mon 12-Nov-18 10:49:02

I was shy as a teenager ... painfully so, I could get around school
Without looking up, and hid all the time, so I decided to do something about it and at a level did drama class.. this put me in a class
With people I never before would socialise with... and very much out of my comfort zone ... an actress I will never be ( unless you want an impersonation of a wooden block ) as I never really got into it but non the less it taught me to put myself out there that and waitressing/ bar work 17 years onwards ... the banter at the bar could be cutting ... I learnt to be a bit of a smart mouth back ( within reason ) and learnt to defend myself rather than be the victim in life. Customer facing job will do it and she get the reward of a pay packet. You may be over worrying though... some people are quieter than others, if I am in a room full of extroverts I will tend to be an introvert and sit back and watch, if I am in a room of introverts I become an extrovert as this is what the room needs.. I adapt.. and can switch between the two, based on what the situation warrants and have enough self confidence that I don’t feel the need to stamp my personality on every situation... maybe your daughter is a bit of both as it sounds that way x x x

junebirthdaygirl Mon 12-Nov-18 11:04:53

Its very important that you not give one hint that you think she could do better or is limited in any way. Every achievement she makes will improve her confidence so let her do the one that appeals to her most. She genuinely sounds like she is doing great so that is enough for now, l think.

adynerfa Mon 12-Nov-18 13:06:16

Thanks for everyone's input. It's good to hear other's perspectives. Her school is over-represented by extroverted girls so I could be judging her more harshly and projecting from my own experiences too much. I'll keep focusing on her strengths and hopefully the rest will follow. I'm going to suggest charity shop volunteering unless she has a new idea of her own.

OP’s posts: |
MillicentMargaretAmanda Mon 12-Nov-18 21:29:28

Would she be up for helping at something like cubs or brownies? Being a leader for younger children can really help teens develop self confidence and leadership skills in a safe environment. Certainly most Brownies I know just love the older girls who volunteer with them and so it can feel more of a safe space to practice those skills than among their teen peers.

CantWaitToRetire Mon 12-Nov-18 21:59:03

My teen DD grew up quite timid and shy. Then three things happened. She went to college instead of staying on at 6th form, taking her away from the comfort zone of school and friends; she got herself a part time job in a card shop, so had to talk to people she was serving; she learnt to drive. These things really upped her confidence levels and she’s gone from being a kid who spent all her time in her room, seemingly without many friends, to being out all the time with friends she met through work and college and driving about everywhere.

I think the DoE scheme will do wonders for your DD and a part time job or volunteering opportunity would help too.

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