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Hello Parents,

Growing up, children are bound to experience frustration, failure and difficulty. Many parents are very quick to protect their child from any upsets in fear that it will scar their self-esteem, but often it is all that rescuing that may be detrimental. Moments of difficulty and challenge actually help children flex and build resiliency and it is how they learn to overcome frustration and failure.

Experiencing frustration can actually be a great starting point for children to learn how to problem solve and how to overcome anger, sadness and many other feelings. The key lies in actually supporting our children positively when they are faced with frustrations.

One way to help children understand challenging situations and difficulty are to work with them in how they look at the things they do and the things we ask them to do.

As parents, it is important to get your children to learn how to control their thoughts and emotions.

Before any student starts classes at our karate school I ask them to do two very important things. 

   1. Always have fun, regardless of what you’re doing.

Having fun with everything they do is huge for learning how not to get upset when they experience a challenging situation. It’s easy to have fun doing the things you like to do but it is much more difficult having fun doing things that are difficult, challenging or just something they don’t feel is very fun.

Having fun with everything is a mindset. If you think you’re going to have fun or you try to have fun doing something, more than likely this will happen. It will not be “boring” and it will not be “too hard” to do. However, if you start out thinking that you don’t want to do the certain task or that you think you aren’t very good at it, well guess what, you will probably fall into that trap and not enjoy it, find it boring, or not try their best to do it. This ends up becoming a chore and not something you will succeed at.

   2. Try my best at everything.

Getting children to try their best when they know they are going to struggle is especially difficult. But guess what? This is another mindset that can be changed with positive thinking and some guidance from their role models (parents). Most children fear failure and don't like to do something when they think they will fail. Negative thinking allows a child to learn how to quit at anything they feel is going to be difficult or challenging. As a parent you can’t let your children have this type of thinking. Try to be positive and show your child how to react to situations of adversity.

So, I’m sure you’re saying, “easy for you to say, but how do we do this”. Below I are some tips and ideas on how to work with your children to overcome the challenges and difficulties they experience in every day activities.

Use Encouragement and Focus on Effort

Encouraging parents focus on effort and improvement rather than perfect results. By focusing on those elements, we strengthen a child’s courage to move forward even in the face of limitations.

Avoid Diminishing or Judging Feelings

Children cannot overcome challenges and learn from frustrating experiences if we do everything for them or if we diminish their feelings about something. Sometimes we may answer on auto-pilot – “oh it’s not really a big deal” or “that’s nothing to be upset about,” but maybe in that moment, in that circumstance, to a child it may feel like a big deal and something to be upset about. We can do a lot to help our children by striking a balance between honoring and empathizing with those feelings but not swooping in to fix it all.

Have Faith

Trust that your child is capable of doing things, solving problems and overcoming his feelings. This doesn’t mean we cannot be helpful, encouraging or be a supportive presence, but it does mean it’s alright to let them go ahead and feel their feelings freely and do things on their own, keeping in mind what is age appropriate and safe.

Allow Chances for Learning from Mistakes

There will be times, many times, when children may make mistakes or bad choices. Allowing for natural consequences (when safe) and giving children the time and space to learn from their own mistakes is really important. Ask them questions like, “what would have been a better choice to make there”? Getting children to provide feedback helps them to think and understand what happened and how to keep it from happening again.

Use Language that Keeps Mistakes & Failure Separate 
“When a child makes a mistake or fails to accomplish a certain goal, we must avoid any word or action which indicates that we consider him a failure. “Too bad that didn’t work.” “I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you.”

I hope you have found this information useful in some way.

Yours Truly for Awesome and Amazing Kids,

Sensei Randy Kopke



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