"My son gives up when an activity starts becoming difficult... how can I support him persevere?"
You may have mixed emotions when you see your child struggling with an activity. Discomfort, irritation, frustration, empathy, and at times your heart goes out to them when you can see they are giving their all.
But perhaps the worst feeling is when they shrug their shoulders and just "GIVE UP".
And if you respond with any of these statements, you are taking a big risk:
- "Don't give up now. You can do it!"
- "It's easy... you are nearly there!"
- "Come on. Just a little more."
These words often make our children feel GUILTY opposed to inspired and motivated. They now feel bad about giving up... they feel they are letting their parent down.
When a child is struggling to do something, they are not wanting us to make something seem easier than it is. They are not wanting us to drop the bar.
Instead, they are wanting us to SUPPORT them in stepping up to overcome it.
And here is how you can SUPPORT them without undermining them while doing it.
Acknowledge the challenge of what they may be struggling with
Acknowledging their struggle is not a judgement. It does not mean you agree or disagree. It does not mean smething ir right, nor wrong.
It is a simple statement that conveys that what your child is currently doing is not always easy, or difficult.
- "It can be tricky to read long words"
- "It is sometimes difficult to tie shoe laces"
- "It can be challenging to keep working on your homework, especially after a long afternoon of playing outside"
|Instead of making it easy||Acknowledge the struggle|
How this skill works:
At this point you may not believe that this simple statement could actually work.
And I get that. How can somehting so simple create such a big impact on a child who is struggling?
When we show respect for the challenge that they are facing, they feel encouraged and their willingness to persevere increases dramatically. When we acknowledge that at times, certain things can be really difficult, then they don’t feel like they are failing.
Avoid saying that something should be easy to another person. If that person can’t do something that should be easy, then why bother trying at all? If she succeeds in doing something ‘easy’ then she may feel that there is little accomplished.
If she fails, then she has failed to do something ‘easy’. It may be better not to create the expectation of what you think it may entail.
They do not want you to show them how easy it is. When they ask you to do something for them, it is because they currently believe they can’t do it for themselves and don’t think attempting it is worth the effort. The barrier to them doing it seems too high.
They do not want you to bring the barrier down; they want you to support them in stepping up.
When you see your child struggling to do something, consider showing respect, and giving information which might support them.