Developing confidence and resilience in teenagers

    Published: 27 March 2017

    We all want the best for our young people, and one of the greatest gifts we can give them is self-belief – the confidence that they can set their sights high and reach their goals. With this core of confidence, they are more willing to stretch themselves, adopt a growth mindset and engage more in their own learning. They also become more resilient and resourceful, making them better equipped to navigate changes in friendships and home lives and to deal with life’s setbacks.

    Unfortunately, with all the challenges our young people face today, such as social media, friendship difficulties, body image issues and sometimes difficult home lives, it can be a real struggle for them to build a core of confidence. Several research reports have highlighted the growing unhappiness of many young people, and a recent survey conducted by the Department for Education showed that 37% of girls reported feeling “unhappy, worthless or unable to concentrate”.

    To help combat this, Herts for Learning continues to partner with confidence specialists Confident Teens® to offer an innovative programme for Years 7, 8 and 9 to help them develop self-awareness, self-esteem and high aspirations, so they are in the best position to progress, both personally and academically.

    The Confident Teens Building Resilience programme is delivered through a combination of whole-year group talks, small-group workshops, and an evening talk for parents.

    Schools such as Hitchin Girls’ School, Watford Grammar School, for Girls and Roundwood Park School, have used similar Confident Teens programmes as part of their preventative mental health strategies to support students to develop their confidence, resourcefulness and resilience; and to help address the inherent pressures of being a young person today.

    The programme has received positive feedback from pupils, teachers and parents. One teacher said that, as a result of the programme, a pupil was much more engaged and willing to try difficult questions. A Year 8 student who participated in the course said: “I’ve learnt how to value myself and everything about me".

    How the Building Resilience programme is delivered

    The first element of this programme is two one-hour talks to a whole-year group (boys and girls), delivered by Confident Teens trainers. The talks support pupils to develop pride in their individuality; to learn techniques for developing healthy relationships; and to understand clear, assertive communication in relationships.

    Additional support for a group of girls

    A limited number of girls who are facing particular challenges for their self-confidence will have the opportunity to be further supported in a series of four one-hour workshops. These sessions will help them to further develop their body confidence, their skills for speaking confidently, their ability to set and achieve goals, and their understanding of how to have healthy relationships.

    Schools may choose to use Pupil Premium funds to contribute to the overall programme, as the impact of this small-group support is carefully measured and a report summarising the impact is provided to the school at the end of the programme. Pupils also complete short feedback forms for the whole-year group talks.

    Helping parents to support their sons and daughters

    Confident Teens is also offering a one-hour talk for parents, on how they can best support their teenagers. The talk will share insights into the material covered in the Building Resilience programme and offer an opportunity for questions. To reduce the administration for schools, parents will book and pay (£15 each) for this talk, via an external online link.

    This Building Resilience programme is only available to two schools per term. To find out more, please contact

    By Ryan Fisher, Journalist

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    This article is from the February/March edition of The Exchange. To read the full newspaper please visit: