Teaching kids to be determined is one of the most challenging parenting tasks, as kids tend to give up once they encounter hardships.
So how can you inspire your kids to stay the course and overcome difficulties?
1. Help kids realize what they will gain if they stick to their goals.
Many kids give up on what they are doing simply because they do not see any immediate benefit.
For example, after failing to score in a football game a few times, kids are more likely to feel frustrated, as they do not think they can improve their skills.
This is the time when you need to point out what kids can earn if they continue their work.
That might be higher grades at school, a higher amount of daily allowance, or more frequent trips to the shopping center.
Either way, make sure you connect the hard work kids have to go through and the value they will earn together.
Once kids understand that sometimes the gratification is delayed, they will have more incentives to press on.
2. Praise kids on their effort, not on the final results only.
If you want your kids to persist despite failures, make sure that you yourselves do not place too much emphasis on the outcome.
Instead of forcing your kids to achieve their goals all the time, then frowning on them when they cannot, let’s opt for a more sympathetic approach.
Show kids that how much effort they have put into their work is way more important than the result.
For example, you can help kids gain more confidence in themselves with these sentences.
“Great job. I think the fact that you stayed up until 3am last night to finish your drawing is amazing. Even if your teacher does not like it best, I still believe it is your best work.”
“Don’t worry if you fail to cook that chicken soup baby. You managed to season the chicken really well, and I will give you a hand next time you decide to become our family’s Master Chef.”
If practiced regularly enough, this will make your kids understand that most of the time, hard work and determination are valuable in their own way.
3. Give kids instructions and refrain from taking over everything.
As parents, when you see your kids struggle, it is very tempting to jump in and do all the work.
However, you should be a coach who offers kids advice and opportunities to polish their skills, rather than someone who constantly fixes the problem.
Not only will this prevent your kids from trying harder, but it also creates a “relying” mindset where kids think parents can help them deal with everything.
For example, your daughter cannot turn on the computer because it is not plugged.
Saying “Give it to me, I’m gonna do that for you” is the worst response.
You are basically giving your child the impression that she cannot figure a way out.
What about saying “I think you should check the energy source of the computer. If it is not connected to the electricity system, then it cannot function.”
This way, you show your kid how to identify the problem, and then give her the space needed to come up with a solution on her own.
4. Be a role model and show kids how you deal with challenges.
Most kids learn through imitation, so it is of importance that you teach kids to be determined by example.
Every day, let’s show your kids that even you – an adult – have to go through ups and downs, and need to be persistent to get what you want.
If actions are not enough, give kids some more solid evidence with stories.
At dinner time, have a casual talk about something that you confronted during the day, something so complicated that you thought you would give up.
Then, explain to them why you wanted to carry on, and how it worked out for you.
Even if things did not go well as you expected, tell kids about your feelings when you decided to give it another shot, whether it was proud, motivated, or satisfied.
By opening up about your own journey towards determination, you are encouraging kids to follow your lead.
Furthermore, this is a great chance for your family to have some bonding moments, when everyone can share their difficulties and how they overcome them.
5. Devise a plan together so that kids are more aware of their journey ahead.
One of the reasons why kids are hesitant to carry on with their work is that they lack a detailed plan.
Without a plan, things are more likely to fall apart, which results in kids’ boredom and their tendency to give up.
To make sure your kids cannot back down from a project simply because “I’m so frustrated and I don’t know what to do next!”, let’s prepare a plan together.
What do your kids want to achieve?
Is their goal plausible?
How can they achieve it by themselves?
Will they need help from other people?
The more meticulous the plan, the easier it is for your kids to keep going with their work.
6. Teach kids that failures are inevitable sometimes.
If kids feel like what they are doing is not successful, they tend to give in right away.
Thus, you need to make kids understand that sometimes, it is not about winning or losing.
Failures are an integral part of everyone’s lives, and kids cannot expect any exception.
Instead of afraid to lose and make mistakes, give kids the opportunities to learn from their missteps.
Even among adults, determination is undoubtedly one of the most demanding skills to be acquired.
But it does not mean that you should shy away from teaching your kids about the power of perseverance.
With the appropriate teaching methods and patience, you will soon realize that both you and your kids will benefit a whole lot from learning to be resolute.