How To Encourage Your Children To Stay The Course

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Tonight, my daughter called me crying from dance class.  She was sick she claimed and I had to immediately pick her up.  I said ok and noticed the huge change in her personality.  I told her I’d be there soon and that she should wait in a certain spot of the school.

Then I thought again.  She perked up immediately when I told her I’d get her.  I remembered that she’d complained on the way over that the new dance routine they were learning was difficult.  I wondered if this was the real reason.

I called her back and asked her point blank if she was sick, or just hoping I’d rescue her.  She was very, very quiet.  Then, she admitted to me that she wanted me to pick her up and that she wanted to quit dance class. It was just too hard and she had an upset stomach because she was so worried she relayed.  I took a deep breath, and told her to go back to class and we’d talk later.

Resist The Urge to Rescue Immediately

Yes, a part of me really wanted to swoop in and rescue my child.  A part of me wants to help her avoid anything that is difficult and unpleasant, but this is not going to help her prepare for “real” life.  I also want for my child to realize that it’s ok to not be perfect.  If I rescue her every time she feels she is less than perfect, I am in fact sending her the message that it’s ok to quit and that perfection is more important than learning.

Certainly, there are times when you do need to step in and advocate for your child.  There may be times when you need to rescue your child from a situation.  After a while, you learn to discern when to step in and when to stand back.

Create A Solution Together

When I picked up my daughter, I asked her dance teacher if I could talk with her.  She spoke to my daughter about how difficult this particular dance step could be, and encouraged her.

On the way home, I asked my daughter if she could think of ways that might help her to learn the dance which would reduce her stress.  At first, her answer was, “Yes, I could quit dance and then I wouldn’t have to worry at all.” 

I told her that quitting was not an option and together, we brainstormed for a solution to her problem.  By the time we’d arrived home, she had come up with several ways to help reduce her anxiety.  One solution included practicing her dance routine at home during the week.  Another included attending a dance tutoring session.

One of the most difficult parts of parenting is preparing our children for life after they leave the home.  Part of that preparation includes helping them work through issues and problems to find solutions.  Quitting is not a solution.

How have you encouraged your children to persevere?  Please post and share your story.

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