How to Teach Children That Setbacks Are Normal
Setbacks are unplanned activities that temporarily change life’s course and slow intended progress. It is not necessarily a halt to progress. Setbacks could occur in many ways; disappointments, career changes, family conflicts, financial concerns, etc., but parents should not hide them from kids. Availing them of the opportunity to witness and analyze the lessons from a setback will prepare them for future personal setbacks. Teaching kids to be persistent, to understand that it is normal to stumble, fall, and get back on one’s feet, creates room for growth.
While failure and setbacks are not pleasant, being open about it with your kids teaches them that things may not always be smooth in life. Still, compliance and innovation would help them get through tough times. Setbacks for parents can be preparatory grounds for kids, but hiding information may affect this. Concealing information results in stress and anxiety and causes a decline in the trust kids have for their parents. Revealing the relevant facts of any occurrence aids them in going through easily rather than guessing and being afraid of mistakes.
Keeping information from your kids can have consequences. For instance, hiding failure creates a notion that failure is uncommon and unnatural when, in fact, failure is faced by everyone at some stage in life. Failure to the rightly minded is a temporary setback. It could imply that a change is necessary, a new method is required, or a reappraisal of what is essential. Parents should take advantage of this as a teaching moment for a child. Children are smart. They see these things anyway, regardless of how you try to hide them. Hiding it will create a feeling that setbacks are to be concealed like it is a thing of shame. Concealing setbacks could send the wrong signal to the child. They may become too withdrawn when they have failed to reach certain standards. They might even extend this behavior to the school, mock their fellow students, or become less confident after suffering a setback.
Parents should distinguish facts from opinions in this kind of situation. They should choose what information to share and what would amount to oversharing. Sharing must also be age-appropriate. You don’t want to burden a child trying to make the most of their innocence with things they won’t be able to handle. Excess information and uncertainties cause more worries than necessary. Telling kids “we are poor” or “daddy is a bad person” is irrelevant. As an adult, you need to do this as wisely as possible. Know how to break information down into chunks so that a child can understand. Know how to extract relevant life lessons from whatever setback you want to share.
For example, in family finances, explaining that a change to the family’s expenditure may occur or why one parent now stays home unusually is considered more fitting. You can use such moments to teach them basic financial literacy. Involving kids in the discussion reduces kids’ fears of strange situations and empowers them to contribute solutions. They also experience and realize that things happen in life, but it is not the end. Suppose you find adults talking about something their parents used to tell them when they were kids. In that case, it’s because ingraining lessons on children early in life easily stays with them for life. It’s most likely even you have such stories you can look back on, if not with your parents, then with other adults around you.
Tackling setbacks with your kids teaches a lasting lesson that unpleasant things happen and that things may likely not always go according to plan, but there is always a comeback. Ensuring the family acts based on the facts and not emotions teaches the indelibly priceless lesson that there can always be a way out or course of action in the face of gloom and frustration. Additionally, it is evidence that rational thought would eventually yield success far more than reacting based on emotions.
Children are sponges. They immerse themselves in their environment. What they see, hear, feel, smell and touch early on in life plays a big part in how they turn out. A responsible parent should aim to control these narratives as positively as possible. They are always learning from our words, actions, and reactions to different calamities. No one family is perfect, but we can instill healthy and desirable ways to confront our kids’ life challenges,