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How Challenges Allow for Growth and Confidence

challenges are opportunities for growth

How Challenges Allow for Growth and Confidence

Stepping outside of your comfort zone to try new and challenging things can be a scary endeavor, particularly for adolescents who fear failing in front of their peers. However, research indicates that failure can actually be a positive outcome for children because it allows them to push the boundaries of their capabilities and adopt a growth mindset that failure is just a crucial step on the path to learning.

Why challenging yourself can lead to positive outcomes

When children allow themselves to open up to a new challenge, they are simultaneously practicing numerous lifelong skills such as committing energy, finding motivation, identifying a source of incentive, and engaging in healthy risks. If they find success, they can grow in their self-confidence and self-esteem, and even if they are met with failure they can glean important lessons about self-growth and perseverance.

Encouraging children to engage in constructive challenges also helps them stay in the difficult-to-find middle ground between boredom and rebellion. Both bored and rebellious adolescents can give in to impulse and make poor choices because they feel they lack purpose, so finding creative ways to challenge your child can give her direction.

When adolescents feel like they have a purpose, they are more likely to take the initiative to engage in activities that support that purpose. Initiative is developed through mastery experiences and supportive relationships with adults and has been found to account for more than 75% of life success.

How to encourage your child to challenge themselves and let go of their fear of failure


There are many ways you can help encourage your child to say yes to constructive challenges. First, you will want to make sure that the challenge aligns with your child’s personal interests and goals because it will activate their internal motivation. Internal rewards consist of creativity, dignity, autonomy or making a difference in people’s lives and these rewards will help develop initiative.

The next thing to consider is the environment in which these challenges take place. Constructive challenges need to take place in environments where there are rules and complexities that are built into the real world. Adolescents must have the opportunities to think critically about themselves and the world, learn to get along with peers and adults, and reflect on their progress. Making sure these challenges take place in a real world environment allows kids to get feedback on their progress and make adjustments if needed. This feedback loop helps boost adolescent autonomy and prepare them for future endeavors.

Finally, children must continue to engage with these challenges even when they become difficult or they are met with moments of failure. Persisting through the difficult periods teaches resilience, courage, and determination.


Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a leading wilderness therapy program that will help give your child the confidence, coping mechanisms, and communication skills to face all of her challenges head on. Our multidisciplinary team of caring, expert staff will be there to guide your child along their unique path to psychological and emotional wellness. This journey can lead to a renewed sense of self and a happier, healthier future brimming with opportunity. For more information please call (828) 408-0396.