Saturday, February 25, 2012

Children and Adversity

We all want to protect our children from sorrow and harm. Since we cannot keep life from happening here is some advice on how to help our children handle adversity.
In speaking with parents over the years and observing my own children’s sports and school activities, I have noticed a disturbing trend:  There is a powerful reluctance to let our kids struggle or fail.  Fairness is the new mantra.  We worry more about our children’s self-esteem than preparing them for an independent and successful future.  Everyone gets a nice trophy or certificate for simply showing up.  Competition is often set aside in favor of participation where everybody is a winner.  I bet you have noticed this as well.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like fairness.  I am also strongly in favor of encouraging young people.  But, I also appreciate the pursuit of excellence.  Competition can be a healthy thing that also encourages children to excel and give their best effort on the playing field and in school.  Instead of assuming that our kids might be hurt or negatively impacted by failure or struggle, perhaps we should consider that they will learn valuable lessons from these experiences.  I think we know intuitively as parents and parents-to-be that we are molded by our childhood experiences.  How were you shaped by your childhood?  How does your upbringing manifest itself in how you are raising your family today?  How does it affect your actions at work?  How does it affect your faith?  Can you trace your actions as an adult to the multitude of experiences you had as a child?  Children need to learn from their struggles and failures and experience the accompanying emotions of sadness and frustration.  These struggles will teach them to be persistent in the face of adversity later in life. (Read entire article.)


Divine Theatre said...

Failure is the best teacher.

julygirl said...

For the development of character and integrity it is necessary to experience both. However, too many failures creates frustration, a sense of helplessness and a phenomenon known as 'learned helplessness'. But even the tiniest victory goes a long way in aiding a child to think like a winner.