As a parent, you would love to see your child cruise through life without facing any obstacles. Hand on your heart- what are the odds of that happening? None we hear you say! The fact remains that every person is likely to face obstacles in their lives. In these days where everyone is seeking instant gratification there is an acute need to prepare children to overcome obstacles as opposed to giving up.
While we are doing so much to help children be successful in their careers for example, what exactly are we doing to help them handle failure, which is inevitable? In most cases, the answer to that question is, not much. It stands to reason that we need to prepare the child for the road ahead as opposed to trying to prepare the road for the child. Here are some ideas to help children overcome obstacles.
1. Failures are the stepping stones to success.
First things first. Instead of having this whole negative connotation around failure, you need to define an obstacle differently. Children need to be told that failures are stepping stones on the way to success. Of course, it is not enough to verbalize this thought, but also to demonstrate it. So children need to be allowed to experiment without the fear of whether or not they will succeed. A lot of it also comes when children watch the way we overcome obstacles ourselves. When they see adults around them handle obstacles as an intrinsic part of life, the same tenacity is engrained in them. It is important for them to be able to see the big picture & to realize that success & failure, both have equal space in life.
As parents, it is also important to praise the journey not just the destination. So if the child has put in a lot of hard work for an exam, it is important to recognize that hard work whether or not it fetches him the first position in class. You must inculcate in the child the love & respect for the process. It will enable them to follow through even the most difficult tasks to their end.
2. Equip them with the right tools
Children must be equipped with the right values from childhood itself. Be it tenacity, faith, sound judgment & more, these are things that they need to learn consistently. It is lessons learned in life early that will stand them in good stead as they grow up to handle adult responsibilities & often disappointments.
There is clearly no substitute for perseverance. This again is one lesson that they need to learn early. You, therefore, need to ingrain in them the need to practice. A tough piano lesson, for example, becomes easy with practice. It is these small lessons that they learn as children that come in handy when they face larger challenges.
4. Do not rush to solve problems they can solve themselves
Sure it is heartbreaking to see a child struggle and so much easier to jump in and solve the issue and see the child smiling again! Not if you consider the fact that as the child grows up and needs to tackle the world on his own this option will not be available to you. As a thumb rule, therefore, do not rush to solve issues that the child can solve himself. This will build muscle, which will help him look for solutions to issues. Of course, it goes without saying that if failure is threatening to overwhelm them, you need to offer the necessary support. Counseling them, and redirecting them, are all tools that ensure that they are able to find alternate solutions.
5. Give responsibility
Childhood should indeed be carefree. That doesn’t, however, mean that you do not give age-appropriate chores to the child. It will make them responsible & set a foundation for the future. Children who are not used to handling any responsibilities may find it difficult to even attend to minor issues in life and may crumble under pressure.
6. Spend time in family discussions
Help children develop critical decision-making skills. One way to do it is to have open conversations with them where you seek their views on challenging issues. This will train them to think and also to be an integral part of family issues. For example, if you are staring at a pay cut, it will work well to have a family discussion on areas where you all could cut costs. It is worth re-iterating, however, that such discussions need to be age-appropriate.
7. Ensure they can ask for help
This may sound like counter-intuitive advice but is anything but that. Having tried his best the child should be able to ask for help & advice. It is important that perseverance is not confused with stubbornness.
Above everything instill faith in the child. It will help the child to see adults follow a spiritual ( not necessarily religious) path. It will become that immense reservoir of strength that the child requires. With faith, the child will also not be afraid of obstacles in life. In the absence of faith, the child may find it absolutely crippling to try new things. In turn, this will hold the child back as he will not be able to follow many passions for the fear of failure & the disappointment that may come with it. While walking to the spiritual path, on the other hand, the child will learn to give everything their best shot & then have faith that the results are best left to the universe.
To Sum up
At Pragyanam, one of the top CBSE schools for admission, we ensure that children are equipped with the use of the right parenting tools, namely communication, being a role model, disciplining, family traditions & more, which can go a long way in raising resilient children who won’t fear failure & who can overcome obstacles.