Kids can be easily discouraged when they try to something and become frustrated. It is important for the adults in their little lives to realize this and do their absolute best to encourage the child rather than allow discouragement to set a pattern of failure for them.
Example: A little boy, about 4 years old is trying to learn how to tie his shoes for the first time. He tries once, and doesn’t quite get it right, he tries again, still doesn’t quite get it right, and begins to become frustrated.
Now, adults can handle this is a few different ways, and really effect the outcome for the child. The first way, and in my opinion, the best way, is to sit down with the child and show him how to tie his shoe. You tie one, and as you are tying it, have the little guy try to mimic your actions with the other shoe. As you are doing this, tell him how good of a job he does with each step. When the task is finally complete, praise the little boy for a job well done. This way of handling the matter shows the child that you have the patience and will take the time to help him.
Another way of handling it, not so productively, would be to look at the little boy and tell him to just keep trying. He may not be able to remember the steps all by himself, so, if he tries again and still doesn’t succeed, chances are, he will just become more frustrated and discouraged with the task.
Encouraging your child whenever he feels discouraged is an important part in helping them to learn new things, and building their confidence in themselves. Whether it is an every day task, such as tying shoes, or something that is completely new to them, such as a new sport they are playing, the adults in their lives should always offer words of encouragement.
Recently, my little boy decided that he would like to try out a new sport. In any other sport, he has been able to feel that he did great from the start. This time, it has been a little different for him. He stepped out onto the wrestling mat for his very first match-up, and he lost the round. He also lost the second round. Now, he was quite discouraged because he didn’t win. The tears of disappointment streaked his face. He was immediately discouraged. Now, the boys that he wrestled had a lot more experience, but my son really gave them a run for the win. The other guys coach told my son that those boys had never had such a hard match in their entire careers! Now, this didn’t make my son feel much better at that moment, he was discouraged and it was going to take a lot more than words from another coach to encourage him to keep on trying. This is where I stepped in, and so did his Dad. We told him that we were very proud of him, and we highlighted all the positive things he did on that mat. Then, my husband reminded him what the other coach had said. Now, his eyes brightened up a bit. Still a bit discouraged and disappointed, he saw that we were very sincere in what we said to him. He looked at my husband and asked him if he would please practice with him at home more because the next time, he wanted to do better. AH! Finally, the encouragement we gave him was paying off, and now he found the light at the end of the tunnel.
Had we not told him just how proud we were of him, my son would have remained completely discouraged. The simple act of encouraging him at a time when he was really discouraged made the difference between him wanting to quit, and wanting to try harder.
Encouraging a child can bring out the very best in them. A child who is encouraged to try new things, and continue to work at things they have not quite mastered gives them confidence in themselves to keep trying until they do succeed. Sometimes, it takes showing the child step by step what needs to be done, other times, it takes words of encouragement. No matter what the situation is, to encourage a child, you have to focus on the positive things.
When we encourage our children, especially at times when they feel the most discouraged, we are showing them that we are proud of them for simply trying, and that if they do not give up, their goals are always within reach. In essence, we are helping to set a positive pattern for the rest of their lives.