Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 05 August |
The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

5 Ways to encourage self-confidence in your kids


Iakov Filimonov | Shutterstock

María Verónica Degwitz - published on 02/02/19

To grow and mature, children need to face challenging situations.

A comfort zone is by definition a pleasant place: somewhere you feel comfortable and safe, where you don’t have to take risks and your chances of failure are low. While that can be nice, you’ve probably also experienced the joy that comes from overcoming a fear, doing a task or project that was difficult for you, or discovering that you’re capable of doing something you never thought you could.

There are some parenting philosophies that encourage parents to do everything possible to ensure their children are always feel comfortable and safe, rarely experience failure, and are never pushed to do something they don’t want to do. This kind of approach, though implemented with good intentions, deprives children of learning how to confront difficult situations or experiences that would help them mature and prepare them for adulthood. It’s not that failure and difficulty are to be sought for their own sake; but if parents don’t encourage their children to leave their comfort zone—what they love to do or can do without difficulty—they won’t be able to discover all the options life offers them.

Here are several tips for helping your children get out of their comfort zone, starting with your own example as a parent:

Lead by example

If children watch their father or mother face difficult situations, try new things, or overcome their fears, then they will be able to do it too. Getting out of your own comfort zone is also a way of showing your children all the good challenging yourself can bring.

Console and support

It will be more difficult for children to leave their comfort zone if they don’t feel that their parents are there for them. The role of parents isn’t to overprotect their children or try to avoid them experiencing any frustration, but to accompany them on the path of growing up, to console them if things go wrong, and to invite them to start over when necessary.

Start with small challenges

It’s not a question of taking your son to the top of the tallest nearby building if he’s afraid of heights, or of making your daughter speak in public if she is shy, but of choosing more modest challenges that will allow your children to leave their comfort zone gradually. It could consist in talking to another child in the park, or sliding on the highest slide. It’s these little things that will give them the feeling of making progress and overcoming their fears.

It doesn’t matter if they fail

Exposing oneself to failure and accepting that things might not go as planned is a first step outside the comfort zone. This helps our children become resilient and persevering. Failures help them learn to overcome disappointment, and realize it’s not the end of the world.

Seek inspiration

Reading them stories that portray strong, courageous, daring characters who have overcome their fears is a good way to get children out of their comfort zone. Talking with them about these values makes them want to apply them in real life.


Read more:
How can you help your daughter build her confidence?

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Cerith Gardiner
Nightbirde’s beautiful message as she drops out of TV show
Gianmarco Tamberi AND Mutaz Essa Barshim
Cerith Gardiner
This Olympic event captures the true meaning of the Games
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.