The Proper Way to Develop Perseverance in Your Kids
What words do you usually tell your child in order to motivate him to learn a new sport or to encourage him to read on his own? Normally, we would cheer, applaud or simply say very good or good job. But just like adults, kids face challenges every day. Research shows that predicting how successful kids will be in life is correlated with how they persevere in dealing with tough tasks, whether in sports, arts, or academics. How would you handle a child who whines or complains every morning as he dresses up for school, saying “I can't do it” or worse “I don’t want to do it.” Let’s see how you can change that to – “Yes! I did it!”
Lessen your cheer-leading
Boosting your child's ego and turning him to a praise addict may have an opposite effect on his self-confidence. Kids who are praised for their efforts are more likely to persevere. They equate achievement as a result of hard work. This is in contrast to children who are commended based on results, typical praises like- “Wow, that looks beautiful” usually fall apart when push comes to shove or during crunch time. So instead of saying, “You run so fast”, motivate him more by saying- “All that practice you're doing lately has made you run faster.”
Never give up
The principle of not giving up is very transferable, according to David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: New Insights Into Genetics, Talent, and IQ. When a child gains something from mastering a sport, it usually tends to carry over to other areas, like academics. Next time when you notice your kid about to raise the white flag, try bringing up his past triumphs. Give him a pep talk by reminding him about the long hours it took him to become a good baseball hitter, the time when he couldn't hit a ball compared with now when he's hitting solidly and enjoying it.
Ultimately, it is not whether they are the best, but whether they did their own personal best that’s more important.