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.

Posted in
Avatar of Francis Van De Beuken

Francis Van De Beuken

Get started today

Contact us today to learn how Trails Carolina can help your family

Contact Us LP

Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Depression And Anxiety Are More Common Than You Think

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. It is common for someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression and vice versa. The number of children and adolescents that struggle with anxiety and/or depression has increased over time. According to a report from 2011-2012, more than 1…
Mental Health New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Mental Health Resolutions for 2022

Traditionally the start of the new year is a time for adjustments and goal setting. We reflect on what we didn’t like about the previous year and optimistically make plans for bettering ourselves for the next. This time is ideal for incorporating these new year’s resolutions into one’s personal life. Most people focus on their…

Exercise and Mental Health

  Not every person can tolerate modern psychotropic medications intended to treat many of these psychological conditions. At least 20% of people cannot tolerate medications for allergies or other reasons. Because of that, finding alternative solutions that can be adjusted to personal treatment plans is important. Exercise has many health benefits for both mind and…
trails carolina reviews

Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.