More than ever, children expect immediate results in almost everything they do. Reading a 500-page novel during their free time does not sound as appealing as playing mobile games anymore. Visiting the library to do research is not an activity young ones find attractive these days when they can make a quick Google search to find the answer to their homework or use an app to get answers to a complex math equation.
In a world that thrives on immediate gratification, how can we teach our children the value of perseverance? Here are three ways you can help your child become resilient.
1. Model perseverance
If there’s anything your child will do, it is something they most likely saw in you. Modeling a trait is an effective teaching method, so make sure that you consciously show perseverance in your behavior to your child. When you decide to start on a new task, ensure that your child will hear you say that you are going to persevere until you are successful. You need to show your kids that you don’t give up on a task even when things get a bit difficult.
You might even want to put up a family motto and frame it on the living room wall. Whether it’s “Winners never quit and quitters never win” or “The Mendozas don’t give up!” having a mantra in the family about commitment will encourage your children to live by it when faced with a challenge.
2. No quitting rule
It is crucial to be clear with your child about the level of commitment that is expected before you commence. Ensure that your child knows what the activity will be about and how long it will take. More importantly, they should know that there is no quitting aside from a few stated exceptions (i.e. broken bone, abusive teacher).
3. Give words of encouragement
Praises go a long way! When you want to encourage your child to become resilient, praises are a priceless reward that stretches your child’s perseverance.
It’s important to note, however, that your words of affirmation should be focused on your child’s effort and not the end result, such as a grade or rank. Praise any recognition your child receives, but emphasize on the effort that your child exerted that resulted in his or her success. For example, instead of saying, “What was your grade?”, you may want to say, “You’re studying so hard! Keep up the good work, son.”
While it may sound counterintuitive, but together with your goal to develop a resilient child also mean knowing when to quit. Weigh in if there are any unhealthy changes in your child: has he lost joy in what he’s doing? Is he experiencing too much stress that there are significant behavioral changes? Has your child given his best? Could the activity be too much for his current abilities? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it may be time to move on and use the time to persevere on another task.