How your children learn to respond to adversity depends largely on how you respond to adversity, and the perspective you teach them about the inevitable setbacks they will experience in their lives. You should be keenly aware of your reactions to setbacks, whether in a relatively unimportant situation, such as having difficulty balancing your checkbook, or in a critical situation, such as losing out on a job promotion. If you show frustration, anger, or despair when you face obstacles, you will be modeling this behavior for your children. Freak out! If you remain calm, positive, and motivated, they will learn this reaction from you. Geek out!
Dr. Peter Goldenthal suggests the following ways to help your children respond positively to adversity:
Put the situation in perspective. Show your children that a setback is not the end of the world.
Don’t rush to the rescue. Let your children try to solve the problem themselves.
Play up the positive. Point out to your children all the good things that happened besides the obstacle.
Suggest step-by-step success. Help your children set goals using the setback as useful information.
Admit your own mistakes. Share with your children difficulties that you had when you were young and how you overcame them.
The Choice is Yours