Perseverance: How Your Kids Can Overcome Hardship

Girl facing a walk over a hanging rope bridge over a stream
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"I quit!"

Most parents have witnessed moments when their child has encountered an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome. Although it's sometimes good for children to wrestle with the question of whether to continue with an activity or in an unhealthy friendship, kids who learn to wisely face difficulty will mature and grow in perseverance.

Some kids naturally thrive when faced with challenges, while others feel unprepared. These children who have trouble persevering often haven't learned to manage common emotions such as boredom and disappointment. Since these emotions are part of everyone's life, we should avoid shielding our kids from every challenge they face.

Indeed, a big goal of parenting is to teach kids how to effectively process these challenges by seeing them through a new lens.

Challenge represents opportunity

When your child faces challenges, help him learn to become a creative problem-solver. Practice this skill whenever problems come up, whether it's thinking of ways to get a football out of a tree or resolving a conflict with a friend.

In our home, my wife and I often say to our children, "Everything has a solution. You just have to find it." We may eventually help our kids find a solution, but we always allow them time to develop their own solutions first, nurturing a trust in God's guidance and wisdom along the way.

I can only be me

Kids crave the confidence that comes from knowing they are good at something, and an overlooked component of perseverance is understanding where one's potential really lies. Aim to guide your children through an honest, humble inventory of their skills and talents. Many kids have important abilities, but they are diminished in their minds because they don't think their peers value these qualities. So show them why these talents matter.

Success is built on failure

When your child fails, acknowledge the raw feelings, even as you aim to move her toward more constructive thoughts. It's great to recognize a child's talents, but teach her that any talent almost always requires refinement. Many winners first learn how to lose well so that they don't panic when things unexpectedly go wrong.

When they are faced with hardship, our kids need to know they can bounce back. Failure develops humility and helps form mental toughness, if our kids allow it.

Danny Huerta is vice president of Parenting and Youth at Focus on the Family.
This article first appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Focus on the Family magazine and was originally titled "The Secret to Overcoming Hardship." If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. Get this publication delivered to your home by subscribing to it for a gift of any amount.
© 2018 Focus on the Family.

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