How to boost your teen’s self confidence

By: Bernice Maune

Compliment your teen and highlight their strong points

Make it a point to give your daughter a compliment about her appearance, style of dressing, hairdo, hobby or school work once a week. That way she will grow accustomed to being praised for something personal to her. This will build her self-esteem and show her that home is where she is appreciated and she does not need to seek validation from outside or her peers.

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Schedule a pampering session

Treat your teen by herself or with her bff to a pampering session such as a spa day. She will look forward to the regular sessions which will help her feel good about herself.

Spend time listening to their concerns

Hear your child out and make it a point to know what is happening in their personal lives. Ask about their social life, how they are coping at school and discover what their likes and dislikes are. Build a solid relationship based on effective communication to enable your teen to speak to you about anything.

Expose your teen to motivational books

Teach your child how to stay motivated by encouraging them to read inspirational material such as Paul Coehlo’s The Alchemist and Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. These books are written in an easy to understand style and contain active habits that they can take on while young.

Build a culture of positivity at home

Build a culture of positivity by urging the whole family to say at least three nice things to each other every day. Maintain this atmosphere by filling your home with positive quotes which lift the mood and get the whole family accustomed to saying these quotes out loud.

Encourage individuality

Speak to your children about their character and how unique their personalities are. Show them that their individuality is to be celebrated and that being original is a way to stand out.

Ask your teen to share written responses to the questions below and discuss each answer once a week to build their self-awareness and self-confidence.

I like myself because…
I’m an expert at…
I feel good about…
My friends would tell you I have a great…
My favorite place is…
I’m loved by…
People say I am a good…
I’ve been told I have pretty…
I consider myself a good…
What I enjoy most is…
The person I admire the most is…
I have a natural talent for…
Goals for my future are…
I know I will reach my goals because I am…
People compliment me about…
I feel good when I…
I’ve been successful at…
I laugh when I think about…
The traits I admire myself for are…
I feel peaceful when…

How to make the sex talk less awkward for you and your teen

Nothing quite prepares you to speak to your child about sex but it’s an awkward conversation that needs to take place. Make it less awkward by following our guide to having this necessary conversation.

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Right place

Suggest an outing with your teen where you will have an opportunity to hear each other clearly and have a conversation face to face. Choose a place that isn’t too busy and not too quiet as this can make the conversation uncomfortable.

Right time

Pick a time which is convenient for the both of you. Obviously in the middle of dinner with younger children around would be inappropriate. Also pick a time where you know your child will be able to pay full attention such as on the weekend.

Positive attitude

Explain to your child that sex is normal and the feelings that they may be experiencing towards the opposite sex are a result of puberty. Be positive and use affirmative language such as ‘I understand’ and ‘You will’ to foster confidence in your teen about the subject. This will enable them to speak up about their feelings around sex.

Open door policy

Encourage your child to have an open door policy with you. Tell them that you are there for them and that they can speak to you about anything related to sex. Understand that they are natural curious so foster communication between the two of you. Also explain that they can speak to another adult such as an aunt or uncle if they are confused about anything.

Be real

Be realistic about sex and the consequences to your teen. Use real life examples of what has happened to people who have engaged in unprotected sex without sounding too preachy. Give your child options that are available in terms of contraceptives, making it very clear to them that you would prefer it if they consulted you or another trusted adult first.

Bear in mind that teenagers are curious about sex and experimental. Draw them in by sharing your own experience of sex as well, sharing the fears or questions you had about it. Keep the conversation light yet remind your teen that sex is a very serious topic which isn’t to be taken for granted. Make it a point to connect and check in with your teen as regular communication will make it simpler for them to trust you and open up.

How to recognise the symptoms of depression in teenagers

By: Bernice Maune

Depression affects teenagers around the world and is a major contributor to suicide.

Depression is defined as a mental illness which affects mood, how you feel, think and act causing severe emotional distress.

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How to tell if your teenager is depressed?

Loses interest in school

Before your child couldn’t wait to tell you about their day and which subjects they enjoyed that day. Now they barely show interest in school and their grades have dropped. When you ask them why this is they can’t really explain and make no effort to show improvement.

Stops communicating

If your child doesn’t make it a point to tell you what is happening in their life, they may be depressed. They may prefer to spend all their time alone in their room and stop participating in family activities. At dinner they may respond with one word answers about what they are getting up to. This could be a sign of emotional distress.

No longer socialises

Your teen’s friends have stopped coming by because they no longer get invites from your child. If this is a recurring pattern, it may be time to have a chat with your child about why they no longer spend time with their friends.

Is absent minded

You’ve asked your son to complete a task but he keeps forgetting and needs constant reminders. Have a conversation as to why this is, as it could be a sign of depression.

Sleeping patterns have changed

Their sleeping patterns have become erratic and on weekends they sleep the whole day or struggle to wake-up for school.

Gets upset easily or is highly irritable

They no longer laugh at jokes or interesting prompts to get them to open up instead they snap or back chat.

You can also look out for these behavioural changes which may point to depression, according to the Mayo clinic:

Tiredness and loss of energy
Insomnia or sleeping too much
Changes in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain
Use of alcohol or drugs
Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches, which may include frequent visits to the school nurse
Social isolation
Poor school performance or frequent absences from school
Neglected appearance
Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behaviour, or other acting-out behaviours
Self-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooing
Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt
Share this video on depression with your teen if they have trouble expressing what they are feeling

Contact the South African Depression Group for counselling queries on the following e-mail: [email protected]

To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday.
Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182.

For a suicidal emergency contact them on 0800 567 567.

The 24 hour helpline is 0800 12 13 14.

Interesting jobs for teens to do

The pros of having a working teenager are plenty. Not only do they get to earn their own pocket money but they learn responsibility and are kept out of trouble.

We’ve compiled a list of interesting jobs that your teen can do

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Essay innovator

Perhaps your teen has a knack for coming up with fascinating essay topics. Then he can sell this skill and set up his own ‘agency’ providing essay topics and even take this a step further by giving tips to fellow students for a fee.


If your teen has a driver’s license and their own car then they can start their own lift pooling club. This will not only help pay for petrol but they could even end up paying the instalment on the car!

Blogger or vlogger

Your teen can open their own blog and start blogging about any topic which they find amusing and are passionate about. They can also put a different spin and upload videos to Youtube. There are many teenagers who have successful blogging and vlogging jobs who are earning an income from sharing on a subject they feel strongly about.

Social media influencer

If your teen has access to social media and you are fine with it then consider supporting them to become asocial media influencer. Just like blogging or vlogging they can pursue and chronicle online an activity that they love and can make extra money from it. Social media influencing is a lucrative job and has become quite popular with the younger generation.


Does your child have an awesome sense of style? Then they can begin their own consulting agency by sharing their style hacks and tips with other teenagers. They can do this online or in person over weekends and school holidays.

Exam motivator/mentor

If your teen is particularly brainy then they can motivate other students during school holidays by hosting mentorship classes where they share their tips and tricks to getting goodmarks. They can charge each person a small fee and increase that fee depending on if the other student wants a one on one or more advice on a specific subject.

Party photographer

Teens love hosting parties and having their pictures taken. Your teen could take pictures at parties or events and earn money while doing this.They could hone their photography skills and begin a lifelong romance with the camera.


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