Overcoming setbacks and obstacles is something we all face throughout our lifetimes. It starts very early in life, if not the moment we’re born. Finding strategies to adapt and overcome is the key to long term success and it’s this perseverance and resilience that enables us to reach our goals no matter what stands in our way.
Children frequently overcome setbacks and other bumps in the road just like adults do. For children, an obstacle may be something like facing their fear of climbing to the top of a tall slide, making connections with peers, or learning to tie their shoes. When we have goals, we will have obstacles, and occasionally we’ll have setbacks. The good news is that there’s always a way to overcome anything that lies ahead of us.
Perception Is Reality
When life throws one of its inevitable curveballs, the setback can come as a hard blow to our self-esteem or to our life’s momentum as a whole. It’s important to remember that perception is reality. How we perceive the setback or obstacle determines how well we will handle it. If we see a roadblock as the end of the road, then we just stop in our tracks, give up, and never reach the destination. On the other hand, if we see a roadblock as a sign to take a new route, we can still reach our destination. You never know – the journey might be even better with the detour!
This viewpoint is especially important to develop in children as it will help them learn to re-frame obstacles and see them as temporary problems that can be strategically overcome.
Find Meaning In The Challenge
Obstacles and setbacks are certainly challenging mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. It absolutely feels uncomfortable when we’re presented with an obstacle but there’s nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable once in a while. Remember that we do our best growing when we venture out of our comfort zone. This is true for children as well.
Children are still learning the world around them including societal norms and those inevitable hard lessons that we all experience. Help them to find meaning in whatever experience they are enduring. There’s always a lesson to be found, and sometimes it may not be clear what the lesson is until you’ve already finished it. Take time to reflect with your child and help them see the things they learned and identify things they should feel proud of accomplishing.
It’s not surprising that oftentimes our obstacles and setbacks are the result of our own actions. Mistakes happen, but the beauty about mistakes is that they also present perfect opportunities to learn and grow. Help your children become comfortable with making mistakes and offer ways for them to use those mistakes as a way to grow mentally, physically, and emotionally. If you’re making a mistake, you’re learning and as long as you’re learning, you’re becoming a better version of yourself.
Encourage your children to never be afraid to ask for help. We all experience life’s setbacks and there is comfort and strength to be found in the wisdom of others. It’s important to sometimes set pride aside and be sure to model behaviors for your children to see, especially behaviors that can sometimes make us all feel vulnerable. Remember, life is an adventure and adventures rarely go as planned. Enjoy the ride.