Praise the Effort, NOT the Outcome
Yesterday afternoon Munchkin tried her first strokes class at swimming. This was the next step in your swimming progress. The lane when from 1/2 the length of the pool to the full length, focusing on one stroke per month, and building endurance.
The owner was gracious enough to let us try this class out at no cost, because he understands our goal and her needs. After 12 minutes I could see the look on her face. She was in tears.
As she got out of the pool, and sobbed in my arms, I hugged her tight. I listened to her explain her struggles with the class and her desire to go home, as she dripped all over my shirt. We grabbed her towel and her clothes so she could change. When she came out, she was still upset, and apologized for not being able to do it.
I hugged her again. Looked into her big blue glossy eyes, and told her how proud of her I was for trying. So she tried it and it didn't work out. No worries. We learned that she is not ready for this class...YET. We will go back to her other class and when she is ready to try again, we will.
Often as parents we get in the habit of looking at the results of what our kids do. Like their grade on a test, if they scored a goal, or whatever. Unfortunately, this focus can be detrimental to your child's self-confidence. It can lead to perfectionism and self doubt; to the point they may avoid activities all together if they feel they can perform to an expected level.
If we want to help our children build emotional intelligence and grit, when need to focus on their efforts...not the result of their efforts.
By focusing on their efforts, you encourage them to try more, fail more, experience more, and learn more. That's what will breed happiness, curiosity, and success.