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How do you rebuild a teens confidence/self assurance?


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Dd13 switched schools this year and she is really struggling. She says she is 'sad' there. I told her to give it a few weeks and if she is truly miserable, she can come back home to homeschooling (this is starting her 3rd year in private).


I think one of her core feelings is that she is insecure in this setting. New teachers, new rules, new students, etc. Part of why I say that is, she is very, very attached to me when I am around the house. Asking me to sit in the room with her while she does homework, sitting close enough to touch me on the couch, sleeping on the floor by my bed. For the first week and a half, I gave in and tried to be as close as possible to 'fill her mom bank' as we call it.


I am not a real touchy-feely person and so while I love her wanting to be near me, I am starting to feel a bit claustrophobic.


She is my child who loves staying away from home, is very confident normally. She hasn't been this needy since she was in kindergarten.



How do I rebuild her confidence/self-assurance so she can get back to herself?

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At 13 so many things could be making her uncomfortable that I'm not surprised that she is so needy. I am thinking of putting my dd in ps next year when she is 13 and this exact situation is what I am terrified of, so I don't have any real advice, just wanted to give you a bump.


My guess is that one or two of the kids are "auditioning" her and that makes her uncomfortable, but who knows? I bet she will get tired of clinging to you soon, no 13yo wants to be so close to her mother for too long, lol.

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Are you confident that something negative didn't occur? I mean a specific incident, as opposed to routine struggles.


If my 12 yr old wanted to sleep in our room several nights in a row, I wouldn't think twice about it, b/c she is often in her sister's room and it's typical behavior for her. But if the 14-yr-old did it, it would raise red flags for me, b/c it would NOT be typical for her. One night I would shrug off as a rough day or built-up stress, but a week of it would have me wondering.


They would both have me wondering if they wanted close physical contact almost all the time, for longer than a day or so. Again, because it would be very atypical behavior for them - a person used to a lot of "personal space" might need the comfort of extra hugs, but too much togetherness would be just add to the stress.


So, if this doesn't fit your dd's "type" then I would be concerned after more than a week, and would start asking questions. Even if she usually tells all, she might be embarrassed about something, either because whatever happenned is embarrassing in and of itself, or b/c she thinks she "should" be able to handle it. Ask when you have plenty of time to wait in silence for an answer. Make sure she knows that it's okay if it's something little or "stupid" bothering her; you still want to hear.


One thing that works well in my house is to occasionally remind the kids that they can always write us a note or send us an email. Sometimes, that big face to face discussion is just too much to, well, face! :tongue_smilie:

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That's such a hard age because it could be any number of things--external or internal. For our daughter, we tried to encourage the area where we knew she excelled: singing. We really invested time, energy, encouragement, etc into her talent because we knew that's what gave her confidence.


Find an area your daughter is strong in and really emphasize.


Hoping the best for you! (And some quiet time for you :))

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