Does Your Child Give Up When Things Get Challenging?
We’ve all been in that space of having something new thrown at us, trying it and feeling overwhelmed and wanting to walk away. You have, haven’t you?
Or are you one of those people who thrive on the challenge and love trying these new things?
What about your child, how do they handle new challenges? What’s their reaction when they are given a new drill to master. Do they thrive on the challenge and can’t stop practising it? Or, do they try a little bit, find it too hard and want to give up?
If your child thrives on the challenge, that’s great. Your child has that open mindset that shows they are a lifetime learner.
If, on the other hand, your child gives up, let’s talk about what’s happening for them and how you might support them to have a different mindset.
Dr Carol S Dweck explains that “when people with a fixed mindset thrive, things are safely within their grasp. If things get too challenging – when they’re not feeling smart or talented – they lose interest.”
Feeling smart versus being talented
This is interesting to consider. Your child might be highly skilled and able to take on anything, but if they don’t feel smart or talented, they won’t stick at things.
Remember I spoke in an earlier article about how thoughts and thinking impact our ability to do things easily, this is a prime example of that. The mind of a child, in this space, is one where they have thoughts about themselves not being smart or talented.
They might be comparing themselves to others in their class or on their team. In their mind, they don’t measure up.
The fact is, that might be very far from the truth in reality. And it’s not the reality that truly matters to them in these moments. What matters is how they see themselves.
Pay attention to how your child reacts when they are given something new to do. Are they excited initially, then turn to something familiar? This is exactly the time to have a conversation with them about how they see themselves.
Talk to them about whether they see themselves as smart or talented.
This is not about needing them to “think they’re smart and better than others.” That sort of mentality creates more problems, of a different sort.
What we’re talking about is a belief in their own ability. No comparisons.
How's your belief in your own ability?
If you grew up in life not feeling good about your own self, you may find it difficult to have this sort of conversation with your child. That’s okay. It is a great opportunity to share with them your own experiences of growing up.
Talking with your child about how inadequate you felt, how dumb, or incapable will create a strong connection with them that will allow both of you to work through your feelings and come out the other side with a different way of seeing yourself.
Maybe there is an opportunity for both of you to work together to improve your ability to take on these new tasks with eagerness and enjoyment.
Remember hockey is about having fun.
Trying something new is fun when you consider it’s an opportunity to learn.
Consider for a moment what actual danger there is in learning a new hockey drill? None, right?
So why not step out there and have fun trying it.
Karen Cherrett is a Sports Mindset Coach who specializes in coaching hockey players. Karen coaches players to be more focused and play with ease, not stress. And their parents to support their child in the best possible way. Life playing hockey should be fun. Mindset matters. Mental health matters. Hockey should be fun, not emotionally overloading.