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How to Help Children Manage Risks and Challenges

author image Jennifer Byrne
Jennifer Byrne is a freelance writer and editor specializing in topics related to health care, fitness, science and more. She attended Rutgers University. Her writing has been published by,, Primary Care Optometry News, and EyeWorld Magazine. She was awarded the Gold Award from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE), 2007, and the Apex Award for Publication Excellence.
How to Help Children Manage Risks and Challenges
A mother comforts her daughter and pulls her head in close to hers.

Teaching your child to face risks and challenges can be especially difficult for parents, who have a tendency to want to shelter kids from life's struggles and dangers. However, shrinking from the opportunity to help your child manage risks and challenges will likely only teach him to be afraid. Throughout life, your child will be confronted with risks and challenges on a regular basis and will need to know how to handle them. As a parent, you can teach your child the necessary skills to meet challenges and risks with confidence.

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Step 1

Recognize the types of risks and challenges your child will face. According to, risks and challenges are not limited to the realm of physical feats. Kids will also face intellectual challenges and risks, such as implementing a new idea, using resourceful or creative thought, and solving problems. Social and moral risks and challenges will also abound, and may include learning to say "no," learning to reason and negotiate, and adapting to different sets of rules in various environments.

Step 2

Discuss and differentiate healthy versus unhealthy risks with your child. Especially as your child enters the teen years, it will be important for her to understand which risks are healthy and useful and which are potentially self-destructive. For example, trying out for the school play or asking someone on a date are healthy risks, whereas driving at unsafe speeds or drinking excessively are unhealthy, reports Southern California Public Radio. Remind your teen that standing up to peer pressure is, in itself, a rather daunting social risk. Commend your child when she takes such healthy risks.

Step 3

Know your child's capacity for risk-taking and challenge and help him accordingly. If you have a child whose behavior at times borders on recklessness, you will want to help him understand the implications of taking thoughtless risks. A child such as this should be watched closely and encouraged to think about the consequences of risky behaviors. Conversely, a child who is timid about risks and challenges should be encouraged to try new things and be rewarded for his efforts in this area, according to

Step 4

Encourage resourcefulness. Teaching reports that parents or teachers often will scold younger children for creating unconventional solutions to problems. For example, if your child tries to fix a broken vase with an adhesive bandage, don't dismiss her outright. Tell her it was an interesting idea and offer another solution. This will encourage your child to continue using innovation in addressing challenges.

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