Centre for Confidence and Well-being

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Postcards from Scotland

Dr Carol Craig: Overview

Dr Carol Craig set out the overview for the event. The Centre has been undertaking extensive research and work on young people?s confidence and well-being. This outline of the Centre?s developing position helped to explain some of the main themes developed during the two days. For example, during her talk she explained the Centre?s anxiety about self-esteem or emotional literacy types of interventions for young people. Indeed she argued that mass psychological interventions with young people could be counterproductive. She ended her talk by pointing out some better alternatives such as:

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
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