Encourage Your Children to Try New Endeavors
By Kathleen Boucher
Give children the facts so they know what to expect.
Are you a parent who encourages your child to try new things such as learning how to play the piano, the guitar, Taekwondo, hockey, speed skating, swimming, typing, etc.?
Do your kids choose what they want to try or do you? This is very important because the incentive to overcome obstacles starts when new endeavors are their choice. This helps them stay motivated regardless of sore muscles, sore fingers, fatigue, or temporary setbacks.
Talk to your children and explain to them that becoming proficient at a new task takes practice. Are they willing to put in the effort? Are they willing to evaluate their mistakes, learn from them, and slowly improve? This should be taken into consideration before they decide to learn a new skill.
Here is a conversation I overheard to the contrary and the questions that went through my mind while I waited for my son’s class to finish.
A parent was talking to another parent at Taekwondo practice complaining that his son wanted to quit Taekwondo after two weeks. The boy found it too difficult. The parent stated he was going to comply with his son’s wishes. He was frustrated at how much money he had paid and that his son was quitting. But what else could he do?
Do you see a problem with this?
Is the father setting the boy up to quit each time he finds something too strenuous? Did he research, along with his son, what was expected of him before he signed up for Taekwondo?
How did the man prepare his son to try a new endeavor?
Who decided to take Taekwondo, was it the son’s choice or was it the father’s dream?
Did the father discuss what the pros and cons of taking Taekwondo would be? Did he tell him about the type of exercises he would be doing, the sore muscles, the fatigue, the sense of camaraderie, and the thrill of accomplishment?
Did he visit the Dojang with his boy and introduce him to the instructors?
Did he give him a chance to speak with other students his own age? These students could explain what it was like when they started.
Did the boy make a commitment, before he signed up, to keep at it even if he found it difficult?
If the father had discussed these things with his son, then when he wanted to quit, they could have a conversation about overcoming obstacles. The father would remind his son of his commitment he made to himself. He would have encouraged him to keep practicing. Imagine the sense of accomplishment the boy will feel when he receives his next belt.
Today, children receive trophies even when they lose. Why have we made losing such a bad thing? Have we set up children to be afraid of trying new things for fear of losing? Why not teach them that it is perfectly normal not to be good at each new endeavor at the beginning. It takes hard work, practice, commitment, and a belief that they can reach their goal.
Children have to be the ones to convince their parents that they want to try something new. Not the other way around. Parents can help kids research what it takes to achieve what they want. Learning how to research is a life skill. Children require the facts before they can make an informed decision. The commitment to succeed is a commitment that each child makes to themselves. This is stuff dreams are made of.
Parenting may have just gotten a bit easier.
Kathleen Boucher is an award-winning children’s book author, a certified lifestyle coach, a certified neurocoach, a certified stress and wellness consultant, and a registered nurse. Her mission is to inspire kids to follow their dreams. Nine Ways to Empower Tweens #LIFESKILLS gives tweens strategies that empower them. For more information visit https://www.boucherbooks.com.