Lifestyle & Work Life Balance

Why most children lack confidence: 5 ways to help your child’s shine through

Growing up in the 21st century for young people should be a time of adventurous excitement and discovery, after all they have more than any other generation before them but…

… this in itself has created a perilous storm of stress, pressure and information overload all leading to emotional exhaustion, social anxiety, and low self-worth.

A recent report published by the Children’s Society (The Good Childhood Report 2015) revealed

Children in England are among the unhappiest in the world!

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They’re in a confidence and emotional crisis and it’s likely your child or teenager has experienced similar feelings at some point.

As the Confidence Coach for children and teenagers, I deal on a daily basis with young people who struggle with body confidence, mind-based challenges such as worry, self-belief and bullying issues. There is a real danger that without the proper skills and strategies to cope with the pressures of growing up, children will carry this unhappiness through their school years, getting less confident as they get older.

Looking back, life seemed so much simpler when you and I were growing up, now it’s got more complex, pressured with a constant background hum of fear, negativity and dissatisfaction.

Low self-esteem has a real knock-on effect in every area of a child or teen’s life and as a parent it can be difficult to know what to do for the best.

Depending on the age of your child you've likely tried the nurturing approach through books and pep-talks, to a little tough love on occasion and still you notice their faded smile, and the struggle with lack of self-belief and emotional resilience.

Whilst peer pressure is nothing new, social media has exacerbated the issue.

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Young people feel increasing pressure to look good on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, to such an extent that Dr Pippa Hugo, a leading child and adolescent psychiatrist, believes that nine out of ten children “image-alter” their own photos before publishing them online.

Too much importance placed on socialising online can result in what I refer to as the Triple-A effect:



And Acceptance

Gaining likes, followers and comments can deliver a momentary boost for young people, but this only provides a false sense of endorsement that feeds the ego for a moment before the next wave of approval must be gained, creating a perpetual spiral of emotions.

I’m not saying that social media is the root of all evil, but that’s what the majority of the younger generation are on now and without knowing how to cope, it can be very easy for them to lose their self-esteem.

The increased online interaction has also led to a rapidly diminishing art of basic communication.

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85% of the 11-14 year olds I coach say they feel awkward starting a conversation with others or struggle to know how to continue which leaves them ‘labelled’ as shy, quiet and not one of the ‘populars’! The simple face-to-face conversations, we as adults often take for granted, are something the younger generation find incredibly difficult.

You may be thinking your child or teenager is confident, and that’s true because most are, but only in certain situations.

But confidence is much more than just being outgoing, having a likeable personality or being good at a certain activity or subject.

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I believe the true definition of confidence is...

The ability and believe in yourself to be able to handle any situation with a sense of certainty, courage and clarity.

Confidence is not something you do – its something you are.

To be truly confident, your child needs…

Unwavering self-belief. Life is a mirror reflecting back what they give out.

Certainty. Fears, doubts and worries hold them back. When they’re certain about their ability, or giving something a go; they learn, grow, develop and have fun.

Courage. By being braver the world opens up to wonderful experiences. New situations feel scary, things that happen in the past can stop them from trying                  again. Being courageous can be a great feeling.

Resourcefulness. Stress, anxiety and emotions all shut down the creative thinking ability, this means your child or teen often think themselves deeper into                           challenges/problems. Resourcefulness allows them to think differently and come            up with solutions and gain greater perspective.

As a busy working Mum or running your own business you may have struggled along the way with your own confidence.

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You know first-hand how it affects everything and one of the most essential skills to help in business and life.


Our mind and body are closely connected, what affects one affects the other.

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The most important aspect to feeling more confident is acting more confident.

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Motion creates emotion, help your child to adopt confident purpose and a positive physiology in their movements and posture to start feeling instantly brighter. This also creates the ability to breathe deeper, calming nerves, anxieties and fears. Practice some belly breaths with them.



What we think about comes about, it’s important you help them focus on what they want (instead of what they don’t want). What positive outcome do they want? 

A great analogy is to turn down the volume of the Boo’s in their head and turn up the volume of Yay’s.

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A lot of communication is sub-conscious and most of what we say is negative, unhelpful and detrimental to our mental well-being and this includes kids too.

Help your child or teen change their negative labels into positive statements

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For example…I’m rubbish at Maths {negative label} to I’ll do my best and keep learning {positive statement}.



Through fear, uncertainty and lack of self-belief, the mind can play tricks, where your child may perceive things as bigger, scarier and worse than they really are. Help them to see the ‘real’ situation by asking bigger, better questions to gain the whole picture of a situation or feeling.



Encourage your child or teen to be brave, where appropriate to do so, go for it, and see what happens. My message to all young people, it’s ok to make a mistake, get something wrong, or fail.  

We don’t learn from being right, but from mistakes, getting things wrong and learning from those essential life experiences.

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The only thing they’ll be disappointed in is not having a go – so help them take action and they’ll grow, develop and become more resilient and resourceful because they did.

It’s not the conditions of our lives that hold us back but the decisions we make about what we are going to do about them.

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Learning how to apply proactive solutions can really boost self-confidence. Don't get drawn into reactive expressions - as this will help transform your child’s chaos into calm, and their calamities into resilience.        

Did you find this article useful? If you want to share about children's confidence please leave your comments below.

About the author

Annette Du Bois

Annette Du Bois is the founder of CHAMPS Academy, the Kids Confidence and Life-Skills Coaching.
She’s the Venus Award Winning Influential Woman 2016 (Portsmouth), author, inspirational TEDx speaker & Sky Academy Ambassador. CHAMPS Mission: to inspire 1 million kids/teens by 2020.

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