#1: Confidence declines sharply as kids enter middle school
Study after study after study has found that confidence begins to decline around age 7 or 8, and that an even steeper period of decline happens at the transition from elementary to middle school around age 10 or 11.
We found evidence for these trends in data we both collected ourselves, and analyzed from a large, nationally representative study called Monitoring the Future.
Here you can see the drop in the percentage of kids at each age who say they take a positive attitude toward themselves, feel they are a person of worth, and think they are able to do things as well as others:
(head to the Research Story page to read more about our National Confidence Survey)
#2: Confidence is lower than ever for this generation of children
We analyzed data going back decades to understand what confidence looks like for this generation of children. From 1991 (as far back as this data exists) until 2012, about 60% of 8th grade students each year had a positive attitude toward themselves, felt they were a person of worth, and thought they could do things as well as others.
After 20+ years with little change, in 2012 we began to see fewer 8th grade students who were confident in themselves each year, and over the last five years a sharp decline has resulted in only 38% of kids who are confident in all three ways. Take a look:
#3: Teaching kids confidence is a #1 priority for parents
In 2014, Pew Research surveyed families and asked parents to choose the most important things to teach children.
Confidence was not an option.
We replicated that study in 2023 and added confidence as a choice. It won by a large margin.
We also found that parents were overwhelmingly concerned about helping their kids to build confidence before being exposed to social media, with 81% of parents agreeing with that statement:
#4: Kids want to be more confident
Our nationally representative survey of children ages 7-to-12 found that 60% of kids wish they knew how to be more confident and only 15% did not.
The Bottom Line
Confidence is critical for kids’ happiness and success. And yet there is mounting evidence that it both decreases as kids age, and that for the current generation it is lower than ever.
Luckily, confidence is a skill that can be practiced, measured, and improved. Our engaging programs and innovative assessment tools will ensure that your kid will learn and grow in the areas of confidence most important to them.
To start your child’s Legendary journey to more confidence click here!