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Empowering Capable Kids

Raising resilient and confident children is a priority for parents. While there are several effective strategies that can help empower your kids, we will focus on three: letting them face failures, nurturing their confidence, and teaching them how to “struggle well.”

1. Failure is Your Friend

Failing is an integral part of learning. Instead of protecting your child from every potential mishap, allow them to undertake tasks that challenge them, even if success isn't guaranteed. For example, if your child is working on a science project, resist the urge to step in and do the hard parts for them. Instead, let them navigate the difficulties. When the experiment doesn't go as planned, discuss what happened and ask what they think could be done differently next time. This approach helps them learn to think critically and develop resilience. It also reinforces the narrative that “failure is your friend” because we can all learn from failures (and survive them!).

2. Building Confidence

Confidence is built through mastery and positive affirmation. Create opportunities for your child to succeed in new arenas. For instance, if your child shows interest in baking, start with simple recipes they can follow. As they improve, gradually introduce more complex recipes. Celebrate the learning process and not just the tasty results.

It’s also vital to use empowering language. Instead of saying, "Don't worry, it’s easy," which might feel dismissive, try saying, "I know it's tough, but I've seen how hard you've worked before. I believe you can do this." This shows your confidence in their ability to handle challenges.

3. Struggling Well

Teaching your child to struggle well means helping them view challenges as opportunities to grow. When your child encounters something difficult, like learning to ride a bike, frame the struggle as a normal part of learning. Encourage them by saying things like, "It's okay to fall. Every time you get back up, you're learning and getting stronger." Support them in setting small, achievable goals, such as riding a little further each day, and celebrate these small successes to keep their morale high.

Show by example. Share your own challenges, like a project at work that didn't go well. Explain what you learned from the experience and how you plan to approach similar challenges in the future. This models positive coping strategies and shows them that struggle is a universal experience, not a reflection of inadequacy.

Through these strategies—letting your child experience failure without immediate rescue, encouraging efforts in new endeavors, and teaching them to see struggles as learning opportunities—you can effectively empower your children to become capable and confident individuals ready to face the world.

Meet the Expert







Ali Schroer, MSW, LCSW
Schroer Counseling & Consulting, LLC