“It’s not that I am so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
– Albert Einstein
As they grow up, our children will inevitably face challenges both big and small every day. In dealing with life’s challenges, do they accept defeat and give up easily, or do they try again and persevere?
Numerous research have shown that perseverance (the ability to stick with tough tasks) is often used as a measure of how successful our children will be in life. Children who learn to bounce back and refuse to allow setbacks get them down have gained a very important life skill that will help them succeed in this competitive world today.
But what can you do if you happen to be raising a child who gets discouraged easily? Read on for some simple, proven strategies to turn your child’s “I give up!” into “I did it!”:
1. Tone down your praises
We often find ourselves showering our children with praises and words of encouragement in a bid to inspire them with the belief that they can do anything, as long as they set their mind to it. However, this action might result in the opposite effect by stifling their self-confidence and turning on the need for constant affirmation for their efforts.
A study conducted by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., a Stanford University psychology professor and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, revealed that children who are commended for their results or ability tend to fall apart when things do not go their way. On the other hand, children who are praised for their effort are more likely to persevere as they learn that every achievement in life is a result of hard work.
Based on the findings of the study, the key is to create a good balance in praising and to focus your words on your child’s actions, rather than his/her ability. This includes telling him/her that you admire the creativity that he/she has put in to complete the task or how he/she takes things in stride with a positive attitude.
2. Be a good role model
As with other aspects of parenting, your children are more likely to follow what you do rather than what you say. This principle rings true especially when it involves values that you hope to instil in your kids.
Show your children that you persevere on a task even when things get challenging – it is alright for them to see how you handle your own struggles every once in a while. To take things further, you can also initiate a family motto which incorporates perseverance such as “Winners never quit, quitters never win” and “We finish what we started”. With a family motto of commitment to live by, your children will be more likely to use it when they are facing their own challenges and won’t be succumbed to say, “I quit!”.
3. Help them look at failure from a different light
Most children tend to give up due to a fear of failing and falling behind their peers. Thus, it is essential that you explain to your child that setbacks are an essential part of the learning process and not a hurdle that prevents them from achieving their goals.
Dr. Jim Taylor, author of Your Children are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You, shares that when his children face hurdles such as trying to spell simple words, he tells them that the most important thing is to keep going – if they do that long enough, they will get there eventually. To give them a motivational boost, he drills this phrase to them: “The only failure is not trying.”
The way your child learns and thinks could determine his/her success in school. Find out how the programmes at MindChamps could benefit your child’s academic progress – book your seats to our next complimentary workshop now!
4. Remind them about their past successes
“The principle of not giving up is very transferable,” shares David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent and IQ.
The great thing about perseverance is that children who have applied this on any given task tend to carry the same drive, determination and confidence to other pursuits. So, the next time your child tells you that he/she is giving up, it may be helpful to remind him/her about the times when he/she succeeded in the past and encourage him/her to persevere until the goals are met.
5. Share stories and wise words on perseverance
Apart from building your child’s literacy skills, books are also a great tool to reinforce values to them, including the concept of perseverance. Some inspiring titles that you could start off with include “Giraffes Can’t Dance”, a tale of Gerald the giraffe who could finally dance, thanks to his determination and encouragement from an unlikely friend; and The Most Magnificent Thing, which follows the adventures of an unnamed girl as she perseveres to create her very own “magnificent thing”.
You can also share the following quotes to remind your child to “try, try again” if they don’t succeed the first time:
“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews
“I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that did not work.” – Thomas Edison
You Can Help Your Child Persevere by Instilling the Champion Mindset in them!
Apart from putting the suggested strategies into practice to encourage your child to persevere, you can take this further by enrolling him/her for MindChamps’ Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System.
Incorporating the latest requirements in the MOE curriculum, the programme empowers your children with effective learning and thinking skills to help them excel in school, and fosters emotional resilience and effective communication skills in them. The combination of all these skills will help them do well in primary and secondary school, as well as upon moving on to tertiary studies and beyond.
Book your seats for our upcoming workshops to find out more about the programme.