It slips out of our mouths before we even notice.
“Come on, it’s not that hard.”
“This is easy, just…”
I guess it’s meant to be encouraging. But it usually has the opposite effect.
Once, a colleague was giving me directions to find something in a storage closet. I repeated the directions back to her (and made a mistake) and she responded with, “It’s not that hard.”
Turns out, it was hard for me. I’m terrible with directions, as evidenced by the fact that I told my friend to turn right when I meant left just this week. She figured out where to go, but this is a real problem for me.
So when my colleague said, “It’s not that hard,” I heard, “It shouldn’t be this hard. What’s wrong with you?”
There shouldn’t be shame in struggling to accomplish something. There shouldn’t be shame in working hard at something that is difficult for you. So, when you child is having a hard time, instead of saying, “This is easy,” try something more in tune with their feelings. “I know this is hard, but we’ll work through it together,” or “If you keep practicing problems like this, they’ll get easier.”
Same thing applies after the fact. Adam’s been working on tying his shoes for a LONG time. When he finally figures it out, which would be a better response? “See? That was easy!” or “Great job Adam! When you practice hard things, they get easier!”
(This post is part of a Secrets from a Teacher to Make You a Better Parent, a part of the write31days.com challenge. The best way to keep up with this series is to subscribe via email here.)