Confident Girls – Be Your Own Best Friend

We’ve all seen the headlines about the mental health crisis with our young people. But what does it really mean for teenagers growing up in 2017? Life as a teenager today is so radically different from growing up in the 1980s or 1990s, meaning many adults can’t really understand, much less empathise, with the myriad of pressures facing young people today. These include pressure to perform in exams for years on end (testing starts age 6!), obsessing about appearance driven by our toxic media culture of valuing appearance above all else, premature sexualisation (driven by many influences including the disturbing impact of online porn), difficulties with fickle friendships, bullying, changing home lives – all amplified through the all-pervasive lens of social media. Sadly, for a significant proportion of young people these pressures result in self-harming, eating disorders, anxiety or depression. And even if teenagers are finding ways to cope day to day, there are unacceptable levels of unhappiness. A recent Department of Education report found that 37% of girls reported feeling “unhappy, worthless or unable to concentrate”. One Berkhamsted resident, Caroline Walker, decided to do something about it. In 2014, Caroline set up Confident Teens to help teenage girls to feel great about themselves, running confidence and resilience workshops in secondary schools in Hertfordshire and other areas. (She focuses on teenage girls, as she feels it’s important to have empathy in the sessions, and she was never a teenage boy!). The emphasis is on helping prevent mental health problems developing. In the workshops, she supports teenage girls to develop their self-understanding, self-belief and skills for handling different situations. The sessions have received positive feedback from the girls themselves, their teachers and parents. One girl commented “I’ve learnt to value myself and everything about me.” Having run hundreds of workshops in schools, Caroline is now offering week-end workshops to support teenage girls in the community. She is thrilled to be partnering with Tring Martial Arts Academy, sharing with them a philosophy of empowering young people. Caroline is offering two ‘Confident Girls’ sessions for 13 to 15 year old girls – a one hour taster workshop, Discover your Strengths (£25) where she will help girls to unlock their confidence as well as giving them an opportunity to connect with their bodies through a short experience of martial arts. The second session is focused on ‘Growing your Strengths’ where over two Saturday afternoons Caroline will work with a small group of girls to support them to develop their skills and strategies to handle areas they worry about most – body confidence, speaking confidently, getting on with friends, relationships and future careers. She will help them understand that endlessly striving for perfection is not the answer, instead she will help them to celebrate their uniqueness and be able to be kind to themselves – in fact, be their own best friend. This short course is £97 including a booklet for girls to use for self-reflection and keep as reference. Caroline loves helping teenage girls to unlock their confidence and learn to be their own best friend. She is passionate about helping girls to develop their self-belief and skills so they can face their teenage years – and beyond – with determination, confidence and aspiration. To find out more, and book a place for your daughter on the workshops, visit www.confidentgirls.co.uk or contact Caroline Walker at hello@confidentgirls.co.uk

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