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Daughter's self-confidence issues
Posted on: 01/26/2006
I have a 14-year-old daughter who has always been involved in sports. She has battled off and on with self-confidence issues and has always seemed to shake if off. Recently she has decided that she's not good enough to play sports in school and has basically given up. Needless to say, she has not been playing well and it seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I tell her that she is good enough and she needs to try not to be so negative it doesn't seem to help. She says I'm supposed to say good things about her. As her mom, what can I do to help her?
Well, you might suggest that she talk with the coach, or a prior coach who knows her well. It's time she develop more mentors than her parents anyway. Stay neutral on the topic; remind her she has prior coaches and teammates to run some of her thoughts and feelings by. All athletes experience slumps (even professional basebball players -- some do it at bat in front of fans during certain seasons), but they stay in the game and in the sport. Defeats don't have to be all-or-nothing, make-it-or-break-it; she can participate just for the exercise and camaraderie and make that her goal until a slump is over. Also, you can attribute her "giveing up" period as a part of her own process, perhaps a very valuable one. Let her try her own solutions at this point and see what comes of them, and she may later on her own initiative adjust that solution to something else, picking up another sport or a new activity. This is also developmentally a period of changing identity and evolving self-image and interests. If you can let her have her emotional slumps, and accept her without cheerleading her, she will work her way through it, albeit with some pain, and thereby learn all the more.