Kids grapple with countless fears and anxieties as they grow up: starting a new school, diving off the high board, taking a big test, encountering a bully or a growling dog. It's natural for us to want to shelter them from these scary situations, but that's not possible - which turns out to be a good thing. Children need to learn how to handle new challenges and worries. What's more, their anxieties about disappointing others and embarrassing themselves can actually motivate them to excel: to study harder, practice longer, connect better with others, and otherwise improve themselves.
Douglas S. Barasch, a father of two, lives in New York City.