My friend Kathleen’s daughter Evie is very bright but also very reserved. “She doesn’t want to do the STEM camp at the science museum,” Kathleen told me, “but it’d be so good for her.” Kathleen had a string of activities and programs she thought Evie would like if she could just convince her to go. “I think I’m just going to sign her up.” Kathleen looked at me in question and I nodded. “I think it’s a good idea to challenge her,” I said.
The camp did challenge Evie, and in more ways than one. She loved the STEM aspects, excited to tell her mom about the robot her team worked on. But she’d been challenged socially too. She made new friends with like-minded girls. Encouraging our daughters to take on challenges now can build their confidence and fight the self-doubt that some women face as adults. We don’t want our girls to underestimate themselves! Here are 5 reasons we need to challenge children.

1. Challenges will build determination.
“Why don’t you join the swim club at school?” I asked my daughter. She shook her head. But eventually, with a little coaxing, she decided to give it a try. Three weeks into the season, she told me she beat one of her friends in a practice race. “Wow,” I told her. “You’ve worked hard and you’ve been really determined to do well! You should be proud of yourself!”
Some girls avoid challenges because of social pressures or they’re afraid they won’t do well. They quit before they even begin. My daughter hasn’t earned a first-place ribbon in a meet yet, but listening to her excitement that evening after practice, I can tell she’s determined to keep trying.

2. Challenges build self-esteem.
Tell your girl to go for it, whether that puddle looks too wide for your 3-year-old to jump across or your 13-year-old is thinking about the basketball team. Your encouragement goes a long way in building her self-esteem because it shows you believe in her.
When she builds confidence, she’s more willing to ask for what she needs. “What’s the best way to grip my bat?” my daughter asked as she took practice swings in the back yard. She’d had a disappointing scrimmage the night before, so I was happy she could ask for help. Hitting a ball was a challenge, but my kid seemed up for it. The more challenges she undertakes, the more times she’ll succeed. Her self-esteem then benefits from those wins.

3. Having some stress is healthy.
Challenges can be uncomfortable and it’s no fun watching our kids stress about something. But we’re doing our girls a disservice if we avoid challenges because of stress. Amy Morin, the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, writes that a low-stress life might eliminate anxiety, but it can fuel depression. But challenges—even if they’re stressful in the moment—can lift depression.
While our girls are young, we shouldn’t eliminate their stress or send the message that they shouldn’t try something because they might fail. Let’s encourage them to go for things now. If we do, their overall mental health will benefit as they grow into women.

4. Challenges can show her she’s tougher than she thinks.
“I’m going to play my piano,” my then-8-year-old said one afternoon when I asked about the school talent show. The deadline had finally arrived, and I was curious about why she decided to take on this challenge. “I want to get over my stage fright,” she told me.
Why do we need to challenge children? Kids who face challenges are often taken outside their comfort zones. They’re willing to try something, knowing they might fail. That takes courage, a skill that will serve girls well as they navigate new experiences as teens and young women.

5. Challenges teach her to go after what she wants.
“You’re going to join the running club? That’s awesome.” With confidence gained from taking on challenges big and small, she’s going to become more assertive. Assertive girls are girls who don’t wait for life to happen but go after what they want.

Assertive girls are girls who don’t wait for life to happen but go after what they want.

While a prince goes out and slays the dragon, we’ve learned that princesses wait to be rescued. No more! Challenge your daughter to slay any metaphorical dragon—try out for the play, audition for the morning announcements, take the harder class, or learn how to sew, skateboard, or sing. The more she tries, the more comfortable she’ll get taking on challenges throughout life.
Why do we need to challenge children? Can you think of more reasons.

What’s a good challenge we can tackle today?

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By Imom

ASK YOUR CHILD... What’s a good challenge we can tackle today?

Assertive girls are girls who don’t wait for life to happen but go after what they want.

Why do we need to challenge children? Can you think of more reasons?

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