How to teach your kids to do hard things

Ever wonder how to teach your kids to do hard things? How to fight fear, to live brave and overcome hard things? Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Life is full of hard things. Full of them. Learning to walk is tough. Growing up is challenging. Learning to become a good spouse is no easy feat, settling into the role of mother is hard. Hard. Hard. Hard. So why wouldn’t we want to prepare our kids to handle hard things well—to not balk at the pressure? Why shouldn’t we seek to give them eyes that see beyond what’s right in front of them, intentionally training them and equipping them with the tools to handle hard things?

Here are 5 things I want to be intentional about in raising kids who can do hard things, kids who are overcomers.

  1. Let them fail | Really. Our home is a training ground for life. And so is yours. It’s a place where our children are loved no matter what, a place where their worth is not based on performance, and the safest place for them to trip and fall and learn about what it takes to get back up again. My natural tendency is to smooth out all the rough spots, and champion my children to success. But this does not help them in the long run. A cut-throat workplace or college class are not the best place for our kids to be learning these lessons for the first time. Be intentional about giving your children a safe place to mess it all up, to crash and burn, to learn consequences and forgiveness and exactly what it takes to get back up and try again.
  2. Equip them | Watching our children deal with hard things give us the opportunity to teach them how to respond well. One thing I’m learning is that no matter how irrational, improbable, or ridiculous it may seem to someone else, fear is real. We all fear different things, but when you are in the midst of it, it becomes your reality. Minimizing someone else’s fear is not helpful. But teaching them how we handle fear, how we fight lies that can eat away at our hearts, is quite useful.
  3. Talk truth | While we try to re-shape hearts and complaining attitudes around here we don’t shy away from calling things hard. Learning to swim is hard. Pulling weeds is hard. Keeping a tidy home is hard. Sure it is, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do it. As my kids get older we talk more and more about the hard things of life, because they don’t ever magically go away. Talking truth with your children, rather than sugar-coating life lessons, conditions them to understanding that hard work is a part of life and not something we shy away from.
  4. Start training them | Have you ever considered intentionally training your children to do hard things, to push past their will and what they see right in front of them in order to learn the value of perseverance? You can be intentional about helping your children develop faithfulness and tenacity. Try taking on a big challenge as a family. Help your kids engage in conversations outside of their comfort zone or offer an apology even when it feels awkward. Show them how to serve others or what it might look like to give sacrificially. These things don’t come naturally for most children, or adults for that matter. Walk them through it intentionally and give them opportunities and new environments in which to practice it. Make sure they see you doing the same. Let them fold their clothes, let them weed the flowerbeds, teach them to clean up the kitchen, to sweep the steps and wash the windows. The tasks will grow with age, of course, and you can even make some of the bigger and more challenging chores paid jobs, but only pay for a job well done. It all takes effort and oversight on your part, but slowly they will begin to learn the value of hard work and doing hard things. And, hopefully, your house will be getting cleaner in the process!
  5. Follow through | Similar to discipline, follow through is key and is often the hardest part as a parent. You love those kids like crazy and if you’re anything like me, you tend to let them off the hook too easy at times. But that is not parenting brave. Parenting brave requires the very same thing of us that we are trying to train in our kids, making decisions not based solely on what is right in front of us, but with the end result in mind. In this case that would be responsible and capable adults.

This is an edited version of ‘Raising Overcomers’ read the article in full at the following link www.mother.ly/child/raising-overcomers-how-to-teach-your-kids-to-do-hard-things#close

 

Source: Motherly. Author Katie Westenberg