Challenging Children to Do Hard Things

Are your children getting enough opportunities to struggle with solving difficult tasks? As a parent you may want to pave a smooth road for your children to walk along so that they aren’t likely to stumble or get hurt. However, in doing this you may be unintentionally denying your children the ability to learn from handling a difficult problem or situation.

In his book How Will You Measure Your Life?, Clayton Christensen writes "The end result of these good intentions for our children is that too few reach adulthood having been given the opportunity to shoulder onerous responsibility and solve complicated problems for themselves and for others. Self-esteem – the sense that “I’m not afraid to confront this problem and I think I can solve it” – doesn’t come from abundant resources. Rather, self-esteem comes from achieving something important when it’s hard to do."

When you allow your children to handle tough problems without jumping in to rescue them, you are providing a valuable learning experience. Your children will see that you have confidence in their ability to handle it. Regardless if it goes roughly or smoothly, they will learn from it.

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