I have stopped blogging completely. Not because I ran out of content but for two reasons. For one, raising 3 kids and working is just a lot of work and two, because I have trouble with my grammar. I have been told I am not a bad writer but I know that at times I am guilty of run on sentences, too many commas, homonym errors, etc. I feel guilty because I am an educator and don't want to shame my profession as many do on the internet. My husband, who was an English major was a great editor and while he says that he was "happy to edit" my blog posts, his work demands made it difficult so I just stopped.
My friend Pete R., has been asking me to start again. He has been my greatest supporter and has given me the most feedback on this blog and about my thoughts about educating parents and children. I saw him yesterday at the celebration of his daughters' 2nd birthday and he again asked me "when are you bringing back your blog?". After a brief discussion with him along with a woman at the party, who overheard our discussion, it came down to "give them your content because that's what your readers want and try to get help here and there with the grammar until you gain your confidence". So here I am, thanks to him and this very kind woman, who happened to be writer. I'm taking a chance and I'm going to try to get a post out once a week, again. I am going to ask for your forgiveness in advance for any grammatical errors and hopefully my content will answer your questions. This brings me to my question for this post:
"How do we get our kids to take chances and let go of their fear of failure?"
I think it is important to talk to our kids regularly about times we struggled or overcame a struggle both as kids and even now as adults. We often see on TV shows where a child is having a tough time and the parent shares how they had the same problem or one similar to the child's problem. While this may look like a good idea and always works on TV, often children don't want to hear about someone else's situation when they are going through their own stuff. Talking regularly about how you solved problems or how you dealt with your issues should be a regular part of your discussions. Don't wait for things to go awry start sharing now! Children are more likely to listen openly and process more constructively when they are relaxed and are not caught up in their own emotional distress.
Another approach I like comes straight from my husband's cousin. He told his son one day, "be able to laugh at yourself, then no one has anything else on you!"- teaching your children to laugh off critical statements that may have some truth can be a powerful coping tool. Of course this mild "self deprecating humor" needs to come with limits (like when it goes on too long or becomes chronic teasing). Learning to laugh off a fart made in public, the fact that they may be short or tall or that they struggle with lets say, grammar can help keep things light.
Teach tenacity (to yourself and your child) , I cannot ignore the fact that "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" made an impact on me (there is a lot I disagree with in the book but I wrote another post on this). Too many children want instant success and give up when things don't come easily. While I do not believe children should be forced to practice on an instrument for hours that they do not love or to be expected to get A's (or a 4 by New York City standards) in a subject that they have difficulty in, pushing kids just a bit to stay in a class they have not given a fair chance to or to just see it through or to study just a bit longer on a certain topic can have great benefits. I have found (from first hand experience) that this can come with loads of arguments and be met with much adversity by your child. My mantra was "don't take the bait", trying not react to the venting or not caving in to the threats was hard but was a test of my parenting skills. My child often complied but I had to let him vent and tell me how much "he hated" whatever it was I was making him do. In the end, he asked to sign up for the class again and the glow on his face when he got the grades on those once tough assignments lit up the room. So push gently but firmly and don't take the bait!
Well, that's all I have for this first post back. Please send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to writing again even with mistakes!
Thank you Pete R.!