How To Teach Your Kids To Overcome Adversity
“Sometimes, we are not prepared for adversity,” intones Cannonball Adderley on the Grammy-winning recording of his hit song “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” and isn’t that the truth? Our kids are often even less equipped for such struggles than we are, and at such an important developmental age, learning how to handle challenges is a dearly important lesson. The Japanese have a proverb that reads nanakorobi yaoki, which translates to “fall down seven times, stand up eight.” In teaching your kids how to overcome adversity, they can learn to stand up again no matter how many times life knocks them down.
Teach Them Not To Fear Failure
Perfectionism can be so all-consuming that we miss out on successes because we fear failure so much. Teach your kids about famous inventors such as Thomas Edison, who arrived at successful inventions through countless iterations that didn’t quite get it right. In addition to emphasizing that failure is often just a roadblock on the way to success, continue to encourage that success by encouraging strategies that challenge your child to approach problems from new angles.
Expand Their Comfort Zone
Repetition can build mastery, but we use the word “repetitive” pejoratively for a reason. Encourage your kids to try new activities, new approaches to old ones, and other strategies for breaking up the monotony. Being able to take on new challenges with aplomb will help them deal with bigger challenges in the future. Knowing they have the toolbox at their disposal to struggle, persist, and conquer can make all the difference in higher-stakes situations.
Don’t Let Family Issues Bring Them Down
When your marriage comes to an end despite your best efforts, this can shake the foundation of your child’s life. While this may not be an ideal situation for anybody, your kids can learn important lessons in the wake of divorce. They can learn about overcoming challenges in life as well as lessons in adulthood, relationships, flexibility, and the fact that their parent’s love for them will endure no matter what happens.
Model Positive Behavior
One of the best ways to teach your kids how to overcome adversity is to overcome some adversity yourself. As a parent, you and your spouse are the most important role models in your children’s lives, a role you mustn’t take lightly. Whenever you confront obstacles, demonstrate that you won’t let them frustrate you or make you shut down. When your kids see that you can handle whatever life throws your way, they’re more likely to keep the same grit and stiff upper lip themselves.