NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Success is Sweetest When…

Success is Sweetest When…    2/22/19


Do you remember learning to ride a bike?  How about learning to roller skate or ski?  Giving a speech or singing or playing an instrumental solo?  

Did you have some fear or frustration at the time, followed by a sense of exhilaration once you persevered and eventually accomplished the feat?  Do you remember how persevering through the struggle, and the resulting sweetness of success, made you feel more confident, and ready to take on other challenges?

If so, you’ve probably come to believe the old adage, “success breeds success.”

From infancy through adolescence, parents can help their children grow to be confident by modeling, monitoring for safety, providing an appropriate environment, teaching the skills, setting boundaries, and being encouraging by acknowledging the hard work and efforts of the child.

Naturally, parents don’t want their children to be hurt in any way: physically, emotionally, socially, academically or otherwise. However, fear can sometimes drive parents to hover over their children, doing too much for the child, being too helpful, and blocking the child’s success and confidence in their own abilities.  Perhaps kid projects that were mostly done by adults come to mind.

In the short-term, the job gets done and the child may feel relieved and even enjoy the compliments.  But in the long-run, those kinds of experiences can thwart the development of their own abilities and contribute to their negative self-talk:  “I’m not competent.”

Effort matters.  Whether it is a child, a teen, or an adult of any age, we all need to put in the time to learn and practice and, yes, maybe even feel some frustration in the process. 

Children are born ready to learn.  To build their own skills, they need to have the opportunity to experience feeling capable and able.  This comes from doing the hard work themselves. Whether that means standing up, taking four steps, falling and crawling back to the chair to get up again, or studying for the college entrance exams more than once, children have to be in charge of their own competence to build confidence.

Parents can be present to cheer their children on for a while, using words that show respect and appreciation for the grit, determination and perseverance that is required to achieve.  Children will learn from that.  Eventually, they develop and internalize the “this is hard – but I can do it” positive self-talk.  With that, they can become their own cheerleader, for life. 

You will find more information about children and adolescents at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/cff/children-parents-and-families-folder/children-parents-and-families-2.

Photo Source: https://www.maxpixel.net/Career-Path-Key-Ladder-Of-Success-Success-Career-3195027 (downloaded 2/26/19)

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