Adults are the architects of the environments youth experience. What if you could cultivate a strong sense of confidence within all youth you care for? Adults who support youth in their choices are adults who trust and have confidence in youth’s individual ideas and interests.
How do any of us build confidence within ourselves if no one shows that they have confidence in us?
Strategies To Build Teen Confidence
Adults can cultivate confidence in youth by starting with two strategies:
- Support choices youth make. This reveals to youth that their decisions are worthy and this in turn builds internal confidence within youth.
- Cultivate an environment of choice. When giving youth choices, they then know that the adult trusts and has confidence in them as unique individuals with their own needs, values, and beliefs.
These strategies work. One of my students (Iris Dominguez) reflected after being in an environment where she felt she had choices that were supported that, “My dream of becoming a teacher seemed far from reality until I met Dr. Kim. She walked in that classroom with that nurturing smile, awesome style and incredible confidence. It wasn’t until I heard her speak that I felt a sense of trust and belonging. Finally, I began believing in myself and my potential.”
Mayte Iglesias is another student who shared this story: “Then, finally, that day came. Dr. Kim asked me my name and asked me to explain what I knew about the five-selves. I was shaking but I answered the questions and ended with these words, ‘I am sorry I have a very bad accent.’ I will never, ever forget her response to me because it changed my life. She looked at me and said ‘Do not ever apologize for your accent you are perfect just the way you are. Your accent makes you special and different from the rest of us… do never apologize for who you are.’ That day she empowered me, she gave me the power I needed to conquer the world.”
Benefits of Building Confidence In Youth
Cultivating confidence is the legacy you can give youth to lead a productive and fulfilling life. When a youth grows up feeling confident he/she can live up to their potential.
Here are a few more specific benefits for fostering confidence in youth
- Confidence is at the core of every human being’s ability to advocate on their own behalf.
- Internal confidence supports and promotes youth in continued expression of choice; and the ability to say “NO” safely.
- Internal confidence allows youth to trust and practice a language of decision making and working openly on the issue.
- Young people who are confident are more likely to be assertive, positive, engaged, enthusiastic, and persistent.
- Though the process of cultivating confidence in youth is not simple, it is doable. Learn a few important strategies that support youth, read my blog: How To Build Confidence
Do you have a story about a confident youth or need advice? Share your story or Ask Dr. Kim here.