It’s time to get uncomfortable! Kids (and adults, too) should practice being uncomfortable. What do I mean by that? Well, it’s easy when a child’s life is running smoothly… picking up new soccer skills easily, reading fluently, getting along with siblings (!!!), and loving every meal served. Sound familiar? Probably not! Often it’s when a child is exhibiting frustration and annoyance when a task, skill, or concept isn’t coming as effortlessly as he/she would like, that we adults offer to help ease the pain.
We’re “caretakers,” right?! It’s counterintuitive not to “help” or “do for.”
Trust me, I will catch myself stepping in when one of my students is struggling. I have to remind myself that the feelings I’m witnessing are legitimate, normal, and should be supported rather than ignored or “stolen” from the child. Continually taking over and “doing for” children is not going to help prepare them for managing normal frustration in the future.
This concept of allowing kids to feel lousy for a bit might require a shift in thinking. Instead of thinking of these feelings as “bad” experiences, we could think of them as a normal part of life. “Bad” feelings aren’t necessarily bad. Frustration means that learning is taking place. Sadness and anger are natural responses to some life experiences and have the power to trigger the will to get back into “balance.” When these feelings arise in children, I think we should help them process the situation rather than take it over. We’re not doing them any favors by “doing for.” So, it’s time to get more comfortable being uncomfortable! It just takes practice and some decent problem solving strategies.
Take a look at my parents’ page if you’d like to know more.