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  • Writer's pictureCate Robinson

Character Building for Confident Youth

Giving young people support to manage the challenges of life

There are many events and moments in our lives that mark us, they stand out in the memories of times where the before and after are notably different. For example, in my first term at University studying Spanish and geography, I made lots of friends and partied like mad, however by the time I went home for Christmas I knew that I didn't want to go back. My experience had been positive in many ways but during those first months I started to realise that I wanted to work in social care, and Spanish and geography might have taken me to many places but they were never going to take me into social care!

I distinctly remember that it was the night before I was due to go back to University that I went to speak to my mum. My mum listened, and (unbelievably to me at the time) confirmed that this was ok, we could work it out, these experiences happen so that we can learn, and most of all they are character building. I remember thinking at the time, "character building" I like that! It was like being given permission to make mistakes, to take wrong turns, to reach dead ends, and then be able to say "hey this is ok, these are the steps that help me see where I do want to go, and also they clearly help me to see where I do not want to go."

Through our understanding of attachment theory we can say that the support that my mum gave me helped me to be resilient, not just for this situation, but for the many other challenges that occurred during the time I was growing up. Sometimes when we talk about young people in alternative care we say that when they manage to achieve good outcomes this may be because they are also resilient. Resilience may be a term that helps us as professionals to assess and work with our young people, however character building may be something that is instead far more relevant to the young people themselves. We may not need to be a parent (depending on our role in their lives), but we may need to help them work through such challenges by standing by and giving them the confidence that helps them to say "I can do this!" Indeed it is for us to help them to realise that life will throw us curveballs, and the way we handle these for better or for worse is all a process of learning, of strengthening ourselves, and maybe preparing to be able to hit the next curve ball a little firmer and a little further.

Between my mum and I, the "character building" chat has often been the answer to all things that have happened in life that have been difficult. I distinctly remember thinking that this was my mums way of helping me through the stage of becoming an adult... but I was wrong, at age 35 I now realise that character building is not just for adolescence and young adulthood, it is for life!

At Wings For Success Coaching and Consultancy I offer a mentoring service to young people who are in care or who have left care. I assess their character strengths and use these as a foundation for our work. Young people learn to understand their particular strengths and how they can maximise these in their daily lives. Furthermore, we also assess the things that they wish to change and the goals they wish to obtain and using these same strengths, they work to reach a new level of personal success, building and strengthening their character as they go.

Wings for Success Coaching and Consultancy is also a tailored coaching and consultancy service for all workers in the social care sector, so if you either know of a young person who could benefit from mentoring, or if you are interested in receiving some coaching and/or consultancy yourself, get in touch today at to arrange a consultation.

For more information check out my website at

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