With more than 20 years’ experience helping teens build their self-esteem, Michael Palance has put together five tips on how parents can boost their teens’ confidence at home.

By Michael Palance

FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS, I have worked with children and young adults from ages 5 to 20, helping them understand and hone the necessary skills and contacts for possible careers in the performing arts. I founded Premiere numerous years ago as a special program dedicated to training and showcasing actors, models, dancers, and singers to industry professionals who specialize in kids’ programming, with the message: “If you believe in yourself, the world will believe in you.”

Throughout the years of my work with children as well as their parents around the globe, a common thread that has presented itself is the fact almost all children deal with self-esteem issues during their growing years. Building confidence for interacting with others, learning to speak in front of groups, or simply learning the meaning and value of self-worth are aspects of self-esteem for young people I have seen realized time and time again.

As a father myself, the following are a few of the lessons I have learned when it comes to helping teens gain self-esteem.


Practice communication skills with your child, such as introducing themselves to others, using a firm handshake and making eye contact during conversation. Before technology took hold of our lives, basic communication skills such as eye contact, a handshake and standing up straight were basic principles our parents instilled in all of us. During the last 10 years, communication has transformed dramatically, and now takes the form of texting, emailing and social media. Even though this technology is an amazing advancement, many basic communication skills, such as public speaking and interviewing skills, have lost their priority in a child’s development. Practicing one-on-one and group interactions at home, in a safe and relaxed atmosphere, offers our kids essential self-esteem building skills they can use in real-life situations outside the home.

Spend time with your teen, and be a good listener when they speak. I like to take cues from listening from my own kids and those in our program, allowing them the freedom to talk with me in ways that give rise to self-expression. Staying tuned to them with quality time together can equate to helping them feel good about their strengths and learn ideas for addressing any areas of concern or fear they may share with you.

The information our children have at their fingertips is awe-inspiring and scary at the same time. At dinnertime, make everyone put their phones away and engage in each other’s day. I have found it is a good idea to ask your child to help create a schedule of phone and iPad time versus time with their friends, siblings and relatives. The more real-life, positive experiences they gain with others, the chances increase for an enhanced sense of self.

Get to know how your children are using social media, and help them develop proper ways to communicate. Social media has become the global way we give the world an impression of who we are. The reach over social media and the impact it has on our daily lives is incredible. While possibly resistant at first, gently but surely guiding our teens’ social media use keeps you informed of potentially harmful scenarios and allows them to learn from your feedback.

Help reinforce your child’s confidence by letting him or her know they are beautiful exactly as they exist today. What children read and see online can directly impact their self-image, and, in turn, their self-confidence. ■

The Premiere program provides children with the experience to pursue opportunities in the entertainment industry, while offering parents unique understanding of the factors that drive success. Learn more at www.officialpremiere.com.