― Carol S. Dweck
As a parent, you want your kids to grow up to be confident, happy, and successful adults, able to face the world head-on and make the most of every opportunity. But what can you do to help them overcome the fears that might hold them back? It’s worth remembering first that fear serves a purpose; it’s a natural human emotion to warn us of possible harm – a call to action to protect ourselves. However, in our modern world, fear often tends to be out of proportion to risk and can prevent us from achieving as much as we would like, and are capable of.
Growth and Mentally Tough Mindsets– 4 ways to help your kids develop their potential and overcome obstacles for growth and development.
- It is okay to fail and try again. The most important thing to teach your kids is to remind them that thry don’t have to be perfect to be loved. Provide a strong support system and deliver the message that they don’t have to face difficulties and fears by themselves. Build on their natural nature of helping and cooperation. Send the message we are a team. If they feel secure in the knowledge that you will be there for them whatever the outcome, this will grow their mental toughness mindset and help give them the confidence to keep trying and learning.
- Build trust by teaching the lesson of small steps for change. Show them how learning usually takes place in small-deliberative steps through challenging, effort and perseverance.
Sometimes the best way to overcome a fear is to jump right back on the bike when you fall, other times though it’s better to tackle a new challenge slowly and with persistence. Be guided by your child on this, if the fear is overwhelming for them, and then show them how it can be approached in small stages, only moving on to the next phase when a certain comfort and competency is reached. Plan the stages with them ahead of time so that they are clear on expectations and what is going to happen, and don’t spring surprises on them or they won’t trust you next time.
- Remind them of previous times they learned something new and overcame their fears and doubts. Reminding your child of a previous occasion where they were afraid to try something, but ended up working hard to learn and finally learned to be successful and enjoyed the challenge. This approach will boast their self-efficacy and believe in their ability to try new things and overcome discomfort and fears. This will boost their confidence in their own abilities.
- Avoid comparing them to others
Focus on your child, and what fears it is that they are aiming to overcome. Making continual comparisons to their brother or sister or other kids can be unhelpful and may make your child feel inadequate and lower their motivation for tackling new challenges that encourage a “growth” rather than “fixed” mindset .