The Centre has thought a lot about young people's confidence and well-being and engaged with lots of people on the topic. As a result of our deliberations we are anxious about artificial self-esteen building and emotional literacy types of interventions for young people. Indeed we have argued in a couple of papers that mass psychological interventions with young people could be counterproductive. We believe that there are
often alternative, non-psychological approaches to improving young people's well-being
The Centre believes that young people's well-being is an issue but we think that to lay the foundations of flourishing we must -
- Be aware that there is no panacea: much of the problem is cultural and deep-seated.
- Be aware that non-psychological interventions will often be more effective (eg making alcohol more expensive and less available is better than teaching self-control).
- Invest in early years facilities/parenting skills particularly for children at risk from neglect from poor or bad parenting.
- Invest in facilities for young people. Young people need to be stimulated and given opportunities.
- Include young people more in adult society. Make them part of our world.
- Remember the importance of diet and exercise.
- Be good role models - good social and emotional skills are 'caught' not taught.
- Realise some of the value of traditional approaches (eg homework teaches self-control).
- Remember the importance of skills and challenge in developing confidence and fostering well-being.
- Value resilience and not overly protect our children from life's challenges.
- Have high expectations and encourage responsibility and independence.
- Discourage our young people from being obsessed with their feelings and their own lives and encourage them to have a sense of purpose and commitment.
More detailed information on the Centre's views on young people's well-being and confidence can be found elsewhere on the site or in the Centre's publication Creating Confidence.