Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Teaching Kids To Deal With Life

Yesterday Liza came home from school and told me that it wasn't a very good day. She had gym class and it wasn't fun because they had to play basketball and she isn't very good at basketball. I kind of brushed it off figuring my uber-determined little perfectionist just doesn't like that she didn't pick up the skill immediately. She doesn't like not being able to do something.

This morning when I woke Liza up she told me she didn't want to go to school. She didn't like it. It's boring. A little more talking and she decided she could go to school today but she didn't want to go next time they had gym class because she didn't want to have to play basketball.

LIZA: I'm not very good at basketball.
ME: Me neither Liza.
LIZA: I have a hard time getting the ball to go in the hoop.
ME: That was always the hardest part for me!
LIZA: And I'm not good at dribbling.
ME: I just never got good at that either. But you know who was good at basketball?
LIZA: Who?!
ME: Grandma Ann!
LIZA: Ahhh.
ME: So how about next time you have gym you just go and do your best. You can't be super good at everything. You are good at soccer. And maybe you just need some more practice at basketball.
LIZA: Well... I don't want the whole team to lose because of me.
ME: Oh. Let's not worry about that right now. Let's just think about doing the best you can.
LIZA: But George (name changed) makes fun of me and yells at me because I'm not very good.
ME: I bet that hurt your feelings.
LIZA: It did. *almost crying at this point*
ME: Is George really good at basketball?
LIZA: Yeah... he's really good. I can't dribble the ball like him.
ME: Liza, you are really good at crafts. I think that's fantastic. And we can't be really good at everything. So it's ok that you aren't good at basketball and George is. Maybe next time you have gym class you can nicely explain to him that you are doing the best you can and you think he's really good at basketball and then maybe you can even ask him if he would like to help you learn instead of making fun of you... because he's good and he could help you get better!

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This afternoon when I picked Liza up from school we had a little chat on our short walk home.

ME: Was today a better day Liza?
LIZA: Yeah! I talked to George and we made a deal. I told him that maybe he could help me and we could work together. Because he is good at getting the ball in the hoop so I can get the ball to him and we will work together like that!

That's my girl. :)

My goal was to encourage Liza to face her problems instead of facing them for her. I wanted to equip her with the knowledge of different ways to handle the situation. I wanted to let her know that it's ok to not be amazing at basketball and that you can ask others for help.

I didn't expect her to go in and deal with it today already and to strike a deal and make peace... but she did. I gave her the tools and she put them to use.

Confrontation is a good thing to learn.
Learning to deal with issues as they arise is a necessary skill in life.
Take the time to teach your kids on the smaller things (like not wanting to go to gym class because another kid is giving him/her a hard time because they aren't real good) so that when the bigger things happen as they grow older they already have a great foundation and the confidence to confront things in a healthy way.

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