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How do I raise my teenage daughter’s confidence?
I have three kids. All strong personalities in different ways.
At certain points, each of them explored other value systems, styles, modes of speech, etc.
This was not because they lacked self-confidence.
This was because their mother and I had fostered enough self-confidence that they felt strong enough to experiment. To deal with the unfamiliar. To try on something different.
It was an absolutely essential step in the development of their own authentic self-confidence.
And I realized that what I had thought of as their earlier self-confidence might not really have been that. It had been a set of behaviors we had modeled to them, and to which they had dutifully conformed.
It was something that I had interpreted as self-confidence. That was not necessarily their internal experience. So I decided that my proper role was to encourage their efforts by having them sort it out for themselves.
This wasn’t always easy or pleasant. But fundamentally I trusted their essential character and that they would come through just fine.
My daughter is now in divinity school, studying to be a Unitarian minister. My older son was a combat medic in the 82nd Airborne and about to start his paramedic course of study. My younger son rather startlingly turned out to have athletic skills utterly foreign to his parents; he now is finishing college, intending to go to law school.
There was nothing lacking in their ability to have confidence in themselves.
But at times, there was a problem in my confidence in them.
Fortunately, I learned that was my problem, not theirs.
Andrew Weill is a tax attorney who has written on a diverse myriad of topics, including politics, pop culture, and relationships. You can find more from Quora here: