Kids Help Phone

Feelings of Inadequacy

What Is It?

Feelings of inadequacy (feeling not good enough) are emotions which can show up as a child not feeling good enough, not believing in themselves, or not having confidence. It can feel like being unworthy. Feeling not good enough can happen to any of us. Like any emotion, feelings of inadequacy can result from many things.

What Does It Feel Like?

It can feel like:

  • Not confident
  • Unworthy
  • Not believing in oneself
  • Sadness
  • Upset
  • Frustrated/mad
  • Like everything is awful
  • Not loved
  • Lonely


You might also notice a child/youth acting out or avoiding others. They might also not want to try new things because they feel they are not good enough to try. It can show up in many ways.

How to Cope With Feelings of Inadequacy

Feeling not good enough can feel really uncomfortable. You can help a child/youth by supporting them. You can support them by encouraging and accepting them.

Ways you can help a child/youth deal with feeling not good enough:

  • Get children/youth to write down 10 things they love about themselves or that they are good at
  • Help them challenge their beliefs
  • For example, if they say, “I can’t do this. It’s too hard”, you could ask them about something they are good at and if they were always good at it. You could remind them they became good with practice.
  • Encourage activities which help them feel good and connect with others
  • Ask them to teach you something they are good at
  • Do something they enjoy
  • Look up relaxation techniques or meditations on YouTube

Further Resources

If you would like to speak to someone about mental health issues, the Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line is available 24/7, offering information and referrals on any aspect of mental health.

Call toll-free: 1-877-303-2642

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