Why Confidence?

Our research shows that:

  1. Confidence decreases in late elementary school, and then declines sharply as kids enter middle school

  2. Confidence is lower than ever for this generation of children

  3. Teaching kids confidence is the #1 priority for parents

  4. Most kids want to be more confident too

#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.


For every kid that doesn’t worry about their confidence, there are four who wish they were more confident.

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!

Our team has a lot to say about confidence!

Read articles written by our team of researchers, practitioners, and parents to learn more about the work that informed our cutting-edge confidence program

(check out the Research Story page for more)

The intersection of confidence and real life — stories and insights from a parent

Sonny Caberwal

CEO & Founder

The research studies, charts, and data behind building confidence

Brian Burkhard, PhD

Director of Research & Evaluation

Your go-to toolbox of tips for building confidence in your kids

Fish Stark

Head of Program & Curriculum

Wisdom from 40+ years of guiding college students and their families

Sue Wasiolek

Executive Director

Legends Lab Foundation