We all love to see our kids excel in everything they do. There is no doubt that when kids nail the school project, learn to ride a bike without training wheels, or nail their pattern in taekwondo class, everyone involved shares a sense of accomplishment. BUT – it is only a matter of time before our kiddos come across something that challenges them to the point they no longer want to continue, and you aren’t sure what to do. Today, I’m going to detail 4 positive things you can say when you come to this point in parenting.
First things first, though – let’s agree that challenges are good things!
If you are never challenged then either you aren’t working hard enough, or you’re not growing. Both of those are opposite concepts in relation to taekwondo. From rank to rank, everything gets harder because being a Martial Artist is about growth and being better than you were the day before.
If you look at challenges as obstacles, rather than learning experiences, you have a fixed mindset – and will eventually never have the confidence to try something new.
As adults, we understand this. For children, though, this can be a little more difficult for them to wrap their heads around. Here is a quick list of 4 things you can do or say to build a positive growth mindset!
1) How does this make you feel?
When our children are challenged or stumbled they feel disappointed in the fact that either they let you down, or the let themselves down. It is important to allow them to take the time to process their feelings and to not use blanket statements like “you will be ok” or “get back on that horse”. Those statements would be better used after they are able to process their emotions.
2) Hug it out
When you are kids are feeling upset, they are experiencing a major dose of cortisol (stress hormone). A nice hug will help trigger the release of oxytocin (connection chemical) and will help reduce the level of cortisol in their system. Even a high five can help, try using the “up high, down low, too slow” approach for added smiles!
3) Come up with a plan
Once we work past the initial emotional downswing, resolve to set a plan to help overcome whatever the challenge was. A great way to go about this is to set goals! When doing so start small and break the main goal down into smaller, easily digestible that are more attainable. Once you develop some momentum, then raise the bar and make your goals just a little bit harder. Keep doing this until you have overcome the initial challenge.
4) Focus on growth
Some things are extremely difficult, and everyone has a different experience. What may be hard for your child, may be easy for another and vice versa. The goal here should be to help your child be focused on their own personal growth and not get lost comparing themselves to others. Remind them that what matters is that they have progress – not perfection – and at the end of the day, YOU will be proud of them for that!
Using these tips will help your child when they face a challenge. In fact, when kids face a challenge on their own and overcome it, that’s where their self-confidence grows! I know how, as a caring, loving parent, we want to step in and rescue our child from any type of struggle or conflict. But, if you can help them develop a growth mindset, they’ll look at challenges as something to overcome rather than something to walk away from.