There is nothing more defeating for parents and teachers than the moment when a child just gives up. If the child would just keep trying, parents and teachers alike are willing to go above and beyond to help that child succeed, often more than anyone believed possible. When a student gives up, on the other hand, it’s hard on everyone. Those kids, however, rarely give up without reason. Consider some of these reasons why some kids give up–and how you can help them past that moment.
1. It’s easier for self-confidence.
We’ve all been there: that moment when we were sure were staring failure in the face. In these cases, it’s easier to not try and fail than to try and fail. Your self-confidence doesn’t take a hit. You can convince yourself that it wasn’t really worth doing anyway–and perhaps even convince yourself that if you’d really done it, you probably would have succeeded.
Helping Your Child
If your child struggles with self-confidence when the time comes to do something difficult, it starts with building your child’s confidence for the rest of the time. Your child doesn’t need a constant cheerleader. Instead, he needs to know that you support him and believe him even when he doesn’t accomplish his goals. Build your child’s confidence. Encourage him to remember that he can do this, even if it seems difficult right now. As your child’s confidence grows, he will often naturally be more likely to take on those difficult tasks without complaint.
2. Your child doesn’t know where to get started.
Many children lack the ability to break tasks down into simpler, more manageable pieces. Kids with ADD and ADHD, in particular, may struggle to deal with a large, complex tax. They don’t know how to get started, so it’s easier to throw up their hands and quit. This is doubly true for children who need to learn a complex task or skill, but who might have missed some of the fundamentals necessary to complete that task: because they lack the foundation, they may have no idea how to move forward into the greater whole.
Helping Your Child
One of the most valuable things you can teach your child is how to break a task down into manageable parts. Think through your child’s attention span as well as what she is actually capable of doing. Then, make a list together of the component parts of a bigger project or skill. The act of making the list will often trigger your child to take greater ownership over the task–and in some cases, simply seeing it broken down can make it seem less daunting. For concepts, you may not understand yourself or aren’t sure how to break down, work with your child’s teacher to divide the task or skill into more manageable pieces.
3. Your child bases success on innate ability.
Research shows that kids who hear a great deal of praise based on innate ability–“Wow, you’re so smart!” or “You’re so good at math,” for example–have more trouble completing tasks that they consider difficult than children who hear praise based on the effort they put forth. Children who believe that success is based on innate ability often feel that they will either succeed or fail on a first attempt. If they just don’t get it, they’re just not going to get it, and nothing is going to change that. On the other hand, children who believe that success is based on effort will keep pushing to succeed even when they’re struggling.
Helping Your Child
One of the most effective things you can do for your child is changing the way you issue praise. All too often, parents want to brag about how “smart” their kids are, or how good they are at something in particular. While it’s fine to recognize your child’s skills and successes, shift your focus to the effort your child puts in. Acknowledge and praise your child for working hard or for sticking with a difficult task. This simple shift in perspective can change the way your child looks at success–and, as a result, improve their odds of sticking with even hard tasks.
Are you looking for a school where your child will be nurtured and teachers believe in working with students to help them achieve their greatest potential, including working with them when they’re ready to quit? Contact us today to learn more about whether The Tenney School is the right fit for your student.