What do you mean when you say make kids do difficult things?

I am a parent of 2 girls who I homeschool. I’d appreciate it if you extrapolated the idea of making your kids do difficult things. I am guessing it is to build resilience. But I’d like to hear your reasoning and get some examples of what you mean. 



1 reply
  1. Penelope
    Penelope says:

    Doing something difficult has two levels. The first is trying to succeed as much as you possibly can even though success is not at all guaranteed. In this way the child learns to take risks, focus on each day instead of the long-term reward, and not fear failure. The second type of difficulty requires giving up something you love in order to do something that is risky. You have to be a little bit older to do this second part. 

    One example is setting a visual goal with a young child and working with your child each day to meet the goal. For example, let’s plant 20 heads of lettuce so we can eat them. Then you can do every step with your child so they see it can be done. But the child has to care about the goal. Most parents do this by dragging the kid through the process of meeting the parent’s goals for their own special interests. (Look, I picked an example of my own special interest!)

    A better example would be if your kid wants to get to gold level in their game, show them how they can work in a systematic way each day to reach that level in xxx weeks. Or paint one painting each day for a year. This is a way to show the child that commitment to a process reaps benefits that you can’t necessarily see during the process. 

    The next type of example is helping an older child to make a hard decision. If you want to work really hard at something that’s difficult you probably have to give up something else that also requires time and energy. (This is true for adults too!) My son was on a dance team and gave it up after working for a year to get on the team because he couldn’t be excused for cello. The more times he gave something up for cello, the more scary it was to be that committed. 

    Very few adults function this way – it’s not a very balanced life. But kids can experience what it feels like they can choose to have that type of life or not. 



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