“Somebody has to be last.”
One of my kids had done poorly on an exam. The class was an especially tough one. (At least it was for my kid.)
“I got the worst grade in the class.” She was pretty upset, concerned about passing, concerned about her GPA.
Since I’m a person who always has struggled with and barely passed math, I felt qualified to give some advice.
“Somebody has to be last. There are just some subjects we are not good at and others we are better at. And it’s okay.
I put on my parent consultant hat (the parenting style that asks the questions) and asked, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
“I might fail the class.”
“If you do fail, what would happen?”
“I’d have to retake the course and may be a bit behind in my program.”
“Would you still achieve your goal and graduate with your desired degree?”
“Yes, I guess I would.”
She and I talked and laughed. She came to the conclusion that she would to focus on the next assignment with the goal of passing the class. She decided to forget about attempting to get an A. She made a plan to study with friends who could help her achieve her passing goal.
“I have every confidence in your ability to pass this class. You have a good plan in place.”
Relief washed over her. She had permission to stop beating herself up for a poor grade and strive for a reasonable and attainable goal.
Struggles are times that build character. We don’t need to fear failure. Some kids think they have to be the best or perfect. They don’t. If they were, they wouldn’t need anyone, they wouldn’t need God, and they would not have compassion for those who do struggle. Struggles are a good thing.
We also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Here are five parent tips for when your tween, teen, or young person is struggling:
- Normalize the struggle by briefly sharing your own struggles.
- Listen just listen.
- Be the “Consultant” ask questions.
- Be the “Coach,” encourage and guide.
- Avoid rescuing, allow the struggle.
With what things have you struggled? How have you used those experiences to help your child?
Lori Wildenberg co-founder of the family ministry 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Mom of 4, co-author of 3 parenting books including: Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love.
Click here to contact Lori. Invite her to speak at your next event.