09/29/2016 11:16 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2017

How Can I Improve My Teenager's Self-Confidence?

How do I raise my teenage daughter's confidence? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Andrew Weill, father of three grown children, on Quora:

I suggest you consider the matter from a different perspective.

I have three kids. All have strong personalities in different ways. At certain points, each of them explored other value systems, styles, modes of speech, etc. This was not because they lacked self-confidence. This was because their mother and I had fostered enough self-confidence that they felt strong enough to experiment and to deal with the unfamiliar. To try on something different.

It was an absolutely essential step in the development of their own authentic self-confidence. I realized that what I had thought of as their earlier self-confidence might not really have been that. It had been a set of behaviors we had modeled to them, and to which they had dutifully conformed. It was something that I had interpreted as self-confidence. That was not necessarily their internal experience.

I decided that my proper role was to encourage their efforts to sort it out for themselves. This wasn't always easy or pleasant, but fundamentally I trusted their essential characters and had faith that they would come through just fine.

My daughter is now in divinity school, studying to be a Unitarian minister. My older son was a combat medic in the 82nd Airborne and is about to start his paramedic course of study. My younger son rather startlingly turned out to have athletic skills utterly foreign to his parents; he now is finishing college, and intending to go to law school.

There was nothing lacking in their ability to have confidence in themselves, but at times, there was a problem with my confidence in them. Fortunately, I learned that was my problem, not theirs. This question originally appeared on Quora. - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: