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Building Identity and Self-Esteem in Kids

Confidence Building Activities and Self-Esteem Building Exercises

For teens, self-esteem can play a powerful role in the ability to grow and become successful. In addition, teaching young adults the value of self-identity and being comfortable with who they are can have a positive impact on their self-confidence. We have created useful confidence building exercises and activities to boost self-esteem for kids, teens, and students. Each of the self-confidence exercises listed below is designed to assist in building self-esteem in teens and students in an impactful way. These helpful confidence-building activities are part of our collection of 52 Leadership Ideas. To view more activities like these, we invite you to click the link below now and download the complete 52 Leadership Ideas PDF.

Brag on Them

This one is simple, but could have a memorable effect on your young person. Find three adults this week, and spend time with them along with your young person. At a natural, appropriate time, brag to them about your young person, in front of them. Don’t make it syrupy or unbelievable, but simply affirm the gifts or strengths or qualities your young person possesses, in front of them. Few things have a more lasting effect than for a young person to listen in on adult conversation, especially if it pertains to them. The conversations I remember most growing up were not ones between me and an adult, but between two adults when I was eavesdropping.

When we are growing up, a good part of our self esteem is derived from what those we respect think of us. This is your chance to build the esteem of your young person by talking positively about them in their presence.


Identify Their Gift

This exercise is key for building both a sense of identity and some leadership direction for your young person. Take some time to focus on your young person’s strengths: their natural talents and their acquired skills. Discuss the issue with them. Make a list of the strengths that fit into each of these three categories.

After you’ve helped your young person identify their primary gift(s), focus your attention on developing that gift or talent. For instance, if they possess word gifts or a talent for speaking or writing, direct them to enroll in speech class or to audition for a play. If they are good at organizing things, help them find a leadership role or a student government position that would allow them to groom that gift. In other words, find a match for their gift and a role. I believe that when young people find their strength, then choose to serve in the area of their strength—they will naturally find themselves leading in that area eventually. Influence grows out of personal gifts.

Hang Out with Giants

Take some time to discuss some great leaders of the past, with our young person. Ask them about some of their heroes who might be considered good leaders. Pay your young person money to read a biography of one of these favorite leaders who accomplished great feats. In fact, you may want to read the same book together. Later, take time to discuss what you learn from the leader. What were some highlights about their life? What enabled them to achieve what they did, or excel above their peers? What did you both identify with in their life? What can you do today, that you learned from reading about their life?

Biographies create mentors out of former leaders that we can learn from.

Say "I Love You"

This week, make a point to say “I love you” and hug your young person daily, even if they are in the “too cool to hug back” stage. Don’t worry about their response or lack of response. Initiate the act of affirming your love for them and their value to the group, or the team or the family they are part of. Nothing improves a person’s sense of worth more than being reminded of how much they are loved and valued by others.

Our greatest sense of security comes from unconditional love. When we have it, we don’t fear rejection or judgment or failure. Few gifts prepare us to lead others more than knowing assuredly that we are loved and valued for who we are. Young people can perform at their best when there is a foundation of love and grace beneath them.


Asses and Evaluate

Do some homework and identify some personal assessments your student can fill out on themselves. These can be instruments that measure:

1. Personality (i.e. The DICS Profile, or Meyers Briggs Temperament Analysis)

2. Strengths (Gallops StrengthsQuest)

3. Motivational Needs Profile (Measuring what motivates them to paricipate)

4. Emotional Intelligence (Measuring the emotional security; i.e. EQi)

5. Love Language (Measuring what speaks value and love to them)

Once you complete each one, take time to talk about your results. What did the test conclude about you? What did you learn about yourself? Finally, record the results in a single place. You may even want to draw a diagram or silhouette of your student and place the results from these assessments inside the diagram and post it on your mirror in your room to see each day as you prepare for the day.