Has someone ever said to you, "Just try it, it's easy!" and then you found-out the task they coaxed you into trying was painfully difficult? Did this leave you feeling exceptionally capable or downright stupid…and embarrassed?
When this happens to the average adult, it doesn't take long for them to conclude two things:
- This person who's trying to help me is nuts…and definitely not to be trusted!
- Why should I try if I can't even handle the easy stuff?
Quite frequently I overhear well-meaning parents and educators using the "Just try it, it's easy!" approach in an attempt to urge a reluctant child into trying something they're afraid of. When the child finds the task easy, all is right with the world. When they don't, they're confronted with the pain of seeing that they might be so slow that they can't even do something really, really "easy"!
How often does this need to happen before our kids lose faith in our word? How often does this have to happen before our children lose faith in their own abilities? Are you willing to take this sort of risk with your kids?
A lot of kids find this kind of challenging. Would you try this and let me know what you think?
If you hear, "It's too hard. I can't do it," smile, pat them on the back and ask:
Aren't you glad that I don't believe that?
"Aren't you glad that I don't believe that?" represents an exceptionally powerful way of communicating to your children that they have what it takes to succeed. Delivered in question format its effectiveness becomes supercharged. Remember: Questions create thinking. Statements create resistance.
You may also experiment with asking another question:
And…aren't you glad that I'm going to love you the same even if you have to work really hard to figure this out?
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay
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