One of the most valuable gifts you can give a child is to teach him how to lose.
Teachers at the tennis club, where 12-year-old Petya studied, did not know how to deal with the outbursts of anger that the boy had after each defeat. Parents also could not influence their son and as a result made a difficult decision - to stop classes for six months. During this time, a talented little athlete had to understand whether he wants to continue and reconsider his attitude to victories and defeats.
13-year-old Timur tried countless sports sections over several years and left each of them with a scandal. The coaches, who found fault, and other guys who were jealous and tried to frame, in a word, everyone except Timur himself, turned out to be guilty. Although the teachers unanimously assured that the boy was very gifted and could succeed in both football and athletics, by the ninth grade he stopped playing sports altogether. The parents just shrugged. Even playing football with the neighbor boys in the country, Timur shouted and argued until he was hoarse, refusing to admit his mistakes.
What conclusions can be drawn from these two stories? In the first case, the parents helped Petya to understand that tennis is not only a pleasant pastime, but also a lot of work. And if you want to take it seriously and achieve results, then you need to treat training as work, and not as a game. In the second case, the parents turned a blind eye to the outbursts of anger, believing that this would pass by itself when the boy grew up. Perhaps that is how it will be. But regrets about lost friends and wasted time can linger even in adulthood.
It's pretty easy to realize that ignoring or indulging a child's angry outbursts is not the right approach. It is much more difficult to decide what to do. Any adult understands that it is impossible to truly enjoy success if you do not know how to work with your defeats. Here is a classic example. When the physicist Thomas Edison talked about the creation of the electric light bulb, he said something like this: “I had to do more than 700 experiments, but I don’t think I was wrong 700 times. I have successfully proved 700 times that these methods do not work.”
But it's one thing to reasonably believe that whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. It’s quite another thing to be calm about the failures that your own child suffers from. Which parent will be able to remain calm when their son receives a deuce in an exam for which he honestly prepared? Or is it reasonable to treat the tears of a daughter who does not find a place for herself from unrequited love? Yes, we understand that all this is nonsense, and in the future will only help children avoid much more serious disappointments. But how many of us at the same time will be able to avoid the temptation to hug the baby and ardently assure that not he himself, but someone else is to blame for all his sorrows and sorrows?
It turns out, on the one hand, we want the child to learn to deal constructively with his failures, analyze the reasons that led to the defeat, and try not to repeat the same mistakes next time. On the other hand, we are ready for any tricks, just to save children from disappointment. And this approach can do more harm than good.
Modern parents are trying to create in the child a sense of confidence in their abilities and capabilities. And for this, many are trying to shift the blame for mistakes from the children themselves to someone else. After losing a football game, the child is comforted by the fact that the referees were unfair, although it is much more reasonable to say: "I think you were distracted and because of this you did not play very well." After all, the task of parents is not to protect the child from any trouble, but to teach him how to cope with a difficult situation.
The sooner you start working on children's constructive handling of failure, the more likely you are to succeed.
Psychologists are now increasingly talking about two main types of attitude to the world. The first type is called "fixed", while the person perceives himself and his abilities as something unchanging. People with this worldview are more likely to face the need to prove to themselves and others over and over again that they are worthy of all respect. People with a "moving" worldview, on the contrary, believe that they themselves and their capabilities can change and develop depending on the situation and the experience gained. It is they who adapt to new living conditions more easily than others.
The worldview of a child largely depends on the parents, which means that it is in our power to influence how he will relate to his victories and defeats. Faced with failure, a child with a "fixed" worldview may break down, or may justify himself in all possible ways. Such children are either very worried about the defeat, or completely ignore it, pretending that nothing happened. Children with a "moving" view of events, on the contrary, will try to overcome difficulties in order to show better results next time. Of course, they also get upset when faced with rejection or defeat, but after a certain time they can correctly assess what really happened and what needs to be done to change the situation.
To help your child form a "moving" view of the world and teach him to learn from defeats, and then turn them into real victories, heed the advice of psychologists.
• Praise what is worthy of praise. Regardless of what grade the student comes home with, focus not on the mark, but on what the child learned, what was interesting to him, and on where this knowledge can come in handy. Children who are praised by their parents not for their A's, but for their ability to think and offer non-standard solutions, are not afraid of difficult tasks. On the contrary, the more difficult the task, the more interesting it is to perform it. What if the child did a great job and still got a deuce? Be sure to praise him for his efforts, for the efforts that he made. But don't try to shift the blame to an unfair teacher. It is worth saying something like this: “I know that you really tried, you are great! But it looks like you don't quite understand this topic. Let's think about how to figure it out.”
Teachers at school most often require good grades from children, but if a child has taken on a difficult and interesting task that turned out to be beyond his strength, he is still worthy of respect. It may very well be that he deserves it even more than those who limited themselves to standard approaches and received well-deserved fours and fives. Do you believe that the ability to not be afraid of difficulties and think outside the box is more important than a good mark on an algebra test? If so, let your child know about it.
• Talk to your child about success and failure. How do you explain to your child that winning a competition or getting a good grade isn't the only measure of success? Try to convey to the children that the preparation process itself is worthy of respect, and not just the result. Oddly enough, the less the child worries about the results, the better they turn out. After all, only in this case the student can focus on what he is doing at the moment and fully demonstrate his knowledge. Say something like this: "For me, real success is when you really try and do something from the heart and with pleasure." You must have had situations when you were able to overcome difficulties to your advantage. Tell the kids about them.
• Don't sugarcoat the facts. Everyone loses sometime - there are no exceptions to this rule. Some people are not accepted into the ballet school, some drop out of the competition after the very first match, some do not enter the gymnasium. That's life! But you should definitely talk about what happened. Do not assure the child that everything is fine. But don't pretend like nothing happened. Silence forms in the child the conviction that something so terrible has happened that it is impossible to even talk about it. The most constructive approach would be: “Well, we didn’t pass the exam. How will we prepare next time?”
• Give up your own ambitions. Sometimes what parents think is a child's defeat actually only hurts their own feelings.
“Last year, the creative team in which my daughter works went on tour around the region. They performed with dance numbers, - says the mother of 11-year-old Oksana. - Two weeks before departure, I found out that my daughter was not accepted. I was terrified, I was ready to run to the studio and tear everyone on the spot. And Oksana was surprisingly calm and said that she wanted not to dance, but to sing, and that one of these days there would be an audition for soloists. Before I could do anything, Oksana passed this audition with a great result.”
Don't confuse your own childhood desires with what your children want. If you are more upset about failure than the child himself, it turns out that this is your problem and you need to solve it. Keep reminding yourself that this is your child's life, not yours. And first of all, his desires and aspirations are important.
• Be calm and the baby will calm down too. Children often throw tantrums because of failures and defeats, because they cannot put their emotions into words, and tears and screams turn out to be the only way to express feelings. For four or five-year-olds, this is quite normal, but a 10-year-old can already control himself.
What if the child screams at the top of his lungs, and others look at you with regret? First, take the child to the side. Speak calmly, pity him and sympathize. Say: "I understand that you are offended." Hug, pat on the head. Your first task is to calm the child, and then you can talk to him about what happened.
Most often, children either cry for a long time and worry, or withdraw into themselves, trying to look like adults. And here it is best to play along with the child. Ask him what he would like to do, what he wants to talk about. Don't overreact, make it clear that nothing bad happened.
And finally, the most important piece of advice. Every day let's let your kids know that you love them - regardless of their grades or sporting achievements. You love them just because they are, not because they are good.
If a child understands that parents will not love him less if he gets an F, grades will never be a tragedy for him.