[callout]Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.[/callout]

little girl“It’s too hhhaaarrrddd!!!”

“You can do it.”

“No I can’t. You said I’m smart, but this is hard!”

“Being smart doesn’t necessarily make everything easy. Stop complaining and just do it. I looked at the assignment and you use the same skills you did on yesterday’s assignment. You can do it.”

Sound familiar? Perhaps more than ever before, today’s children don’t like having to work hard. It makes them feel less smart and less able so it rips at their confidence.

Kids’ use of digital technology is a reason effort scares kids today. For instance:

  • Computers make everything easier. When writing, we can use tools like spell-check and cut-and-paste.
  • Games are designed so kids will win if they spend enough time playing. Some games are easy. Winning is often a matter of time and not effort or skill.
  • Search engines and the Internet are much easier when needing information than the old way of going to the library and using the card catalog, hoping to find a book with the information we needed.
  • And, what about cell phones? With certain phones, the mere push of a button activates a “person” who will answer many questions. We can keep a list of people and numbers so we never have to remember phone numbers. Many include a GPS option to get us where we’re going.
  • Digital cameras and cameras on phones make taking good pictures easier and immediate.

I’m not recommending your children not use technology. Just look for teachable moments to help them understand that its use may be contributing to their judgment that many things are “too hard.”

Would you be surprised to know that we may be another reason qualities like effort, diligence, and perseverance aren’t in the top-ten desired qualities of today’s kids? Yes, it’s true. Our children benefit from knowing we work hard and persevere when something is worth doing well. But, we need to walk a fine line:

  • If we make all things look easy, and our children feel like they’re the only ones who have to work hard, it’s scarier for them. They’re likely to feel less smart and less good about themselves. So, let them know when you’ve worked diligently to accomplish a goal. Emphasize the beautiful feelings that come with your accomplishments.
  • Although it’s essential that your children know you persevere when you need to, rather than giving up, you don’t want to make effort sound so hard and unpleasant that your kids avoid it for that reason. So, don’t whine when working hard. Don’t let them hear you always complaining about how hard work is. I’m not saying you can’t admit that it’s challenging at times, but guard them from believing it’s not worth it.

There may be other reasons your children don’t value effort. If there are, talk about those along with the two I presented. We must help them understand that working to accomplish a goal is admirable. Being diligent should not negatively affect their confidence.

Please consider subscribing to my blog so you’ll get an email each time I post. (It’s the fourth link under my picture on the right.) I don’t want you to miss Wednesday’s blog when I’ll show you how to respond in perhaps a healthier way the next way a child proclaims, “It’s too hhhaaarrrddd!!!”

This is the third blog in a series about increasing children’s confidence. You can read the first two here (about spending time with children) and here (about affirming their specific smarts.