Ways to Build Your Teen’s Self-Esteem


The following article is in partnership with Invisalign Teen® clear aligners and was written by Jenn Worden.

It’s hard to be a teen. And, it’s especially hard in today’s world of social media. Between peer pressures, hormones, acne, crooked teeth and the list goes on, it’s tough. Our job as parents is to try to foster a foundation of confidence to help our kids make it relatively unscathed through their teenage years. This isn’t an easy task, but we can help through some of these relatively simple actions:


Everyone loves compliments. Give a nice honest compliment to your child on the way to school. This will help her start her day off with something positive. But make sure the compliment focuses on something that she did – “It is so impressive the way you studied for the test you have today; I bet that you are really pleased with the effort you put in.” “Your hair looks amazing, I bet it wasn’t easy to get it to look just the way you wanted it to.”

Instill in your child self-pride

It’s important to make sure your teen builds up pride and respect for his attitudes and behaviors. Again, focus on the effort and process, not the outcome. “You really worked hard on the soccer field today.”  “You really helped your little sister practice her math facts. It must make you feel good to see her so happy.”

Say I love you, but know when is the right time to say it

Most teens don’t want their mom walking them to class and telling them they love them every single day.  You remember being a teen and starting to become more independent, right?  Tell your teen how important she is to you.  Be sure the timing is right and you are not going to embarrass them. Some appropriate times might be in the car, at night before bed, and at breakfast.

Walk the walk

Take a long look at yourself and other adults in your teen’s life. Are you modeling confidence? Don’t complain about how you ate too much and you don’t fit in your jeans. Don’t put yourself down. It’s okay not to be perfect, but make sure your confidence comes through.

Empathize their natural abilities and talents

Something I learned with my preteen daughter is how important it is to point out her natural abilities.  My daughter didn’t realize that her love for hair and ability to do it so well was a natural ability until I pointed it out to her.  She didn’t realize that she had a talent for hair since it came so naturally to her. I reminded her that I can’t even do a French braid and how I think it’s amazing that she taught herself and that she should be proud of herself. Just because the talent isn’t something you can show off in a talent show, doesn’t mean their abilities and skills shouldn’t be valued.

Ask for their opinion

If you are not sure about something, ask for your teen’s opinion. This shows that it’s ok to not have all the answers and also that he has something valuable to contribute.


Don’t lose connection! You might have to give in and communicate with your children differently. If they prefer to text you that they made it to their destination instead of calling you, go with it. At least they are communicating. Also don’t start asking 20 questions when they get home exhausted and hungry. I find touching base when your teen crawls into bed is a good time to have a conversation. No phones, no distractions.

When I was growing up my mom knew certain things were uncomfortable for me to talk to her about (boys, bras, etc.). So she gave me a notebook and if I had questions or comments that I was too embarrassed to talk to her about, I’d write them down. She answered my questions in the notebook and this really strengthened our communication and soon we didn’t need the notebook.


Let them help make choices about things that concern them

Let your teen be an integral part of decisions that concern him. For instance, even if you aren’t a big fan, let him choose his hairstyle, clothing, etc. Also, discuss with him the need for braces without just making an appointment because “everyone has braces and it’s no big deal.”

As a matter of fact, the data from an Invisalign Teen® survey suggests that moms might not fully understand the impact braces or crooked teeth have on teens – 57% of teens believe crooked teeth are embarrassing and 41% agree that wearing traditional braces is embarrassing, whereas only 23% of moms think crooked teeth are embarrassing, and 18% believe traditional braces are embarrassing. I still remember being horrified when I got braces and wish I had an option that didn’t entail a mouth full of metal! Perhaps then I would have actually smiled in at least a few pictures during those two years!

According to the survey, 92% of teens say wearing metal braces would keep them from fitting in with their peers. So what do you do when they don’t want crooked teeth and don’t want metal braces? Invisalign Teen clear aligners may be the answer.

Invisalign Teen treatment uses a custom-made series of clear, comfortable aligners that are worn over your teeth.  All you have to do is pop in a new set of aligners every two weeks and your teeth gradually shift into place.

Here are a few Invisalign Teen before and after photos…


With Invisalign Teen clear aligners, your teen can smile with confidence while nobody hardly knowing his teeth are getting fixed at the same time! Invisalign Teen aligners are made with a smooth, clear plastic thus making them virtually invisible. Teens wearing Invisalign Teen are 68% less likely to be teased than those wearing metal braces (according to survey results).

Plus, there is no stress about what they can and cannot eat. No metal wires or brackets to worry about and since they can remove the aligners, teens can eat with no restrictions. (Well, besides the ones we, parents, give them).



The Invisalign Teen brand collaborated with leading parenting expert and author Erika Katz to create the free parenting guide to “Unbrace Teen Confidence“. In it, parents can learn how to help teens build a foundation of self-esteem.

What’s great about Erika is that she’s also a mother of two teenagers who are going through Invisalign Teen treatment and it was her kids who requested this most modern up-to-date treatment to straighten their teeth. Erika says it’s amazing how happy her kids are to not wear antiquated metal braces and that it’s one less thing they have to worry about through their teenage years.

Click here to download the free Unbrace Teen Confidence parenting guide. Also, check out the site and survey and learn more about what teens and moms have to say about confidence.