Let’s raise children to be problem solvers! There will be times as a nanny and parent that we will watch the children we care for experience disappointment and failure. The goal is not to shield children from disappointment and failure, but rather provide them with the tools to help manage their emotions. As a result, we will raise strong/resilient children who have healthy coping skills and eventually become problem solvers.
When your child is facing a challenge, or getting frustrated by failure encourage effort and provide specific praise about what he or she did well. Encourage children to overcome challenges and setbacks, and teach them how to have internal positive self-talk in the face of adversity. When a child fails at a task, encourage persistence and movement forward. If he is building a structure with blocks and it topples over, resist the urge to rebuild it for him. Studies show that encouraging effort rather than praising or lauding intelligence, for example, leads to greater success. This is because “making an effort is something kids can control, and so it instills in them the power to work harder and deal with failure,” says Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids.
Model Coping Skills
When you make a mistake or fail at something you were hoping to succeed at, model how to cope with it in a healthy way. Show children that an external failure is an opportunity to evaluate a problem and try again. You can model how to see new possibilities and try again with a new approach. Redefine success as efforts made, lessons learned, and coping skills instilled, and then try again. Show your children that even as an adult you don’t know what will happen, but you are willing to try and be open to possibilities.
Know Your Child’s Limits
Failure may not always be the best teacher. If your child is being humiliated and bullied, it’s time for you to intervene on his/her behalf and communicate. Know when to intervene on behalf of your child rather than using the situation to teach a lesson. Always intervene if your child’s safety is in danger. The goal is to create problem solvers, and not contribute to the problem.
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