Perseverance is never quitting
In the last part of this series I discussed the quality of motivation and ways to encourage this in your child. As he or she finds motivation, or an inner desire to achieve something, another important quality that you as a parent need to encourage is perseverance! Perseverance, officially defined, is “steady persistence in a course of action”. More simply, perseverance is never quitting. Even if a child has all the motivation in the world, without perseverance, they will never be able to accomplish what they desire to do. As adults we know that there are times in life when even the things we usually enjoy doing seem very hard! We also know, though, that the ability to press on during those times is what helps us to achieve our goals in the end. If your child develops the quality of perseverance when they are young, they will be more effective at whatever they set out to do for the rest of their life! They may not participate in their current sport or activity past a certain age, but there are many opportunities to learn perseverance through their current activities, and that is something they can keep and benefit from for as long as they live. Keeping that in mind, remember to emphasize this quality as more important than the actual skills, scores, or results that your child achieves! Here are some ideas for how to do that:
Look for perseverance in your child! The next time you observe your child taking part in any activity, watch for ways that they display perseverance. If you see them doing one skill or action over and over, that is a sign of perseverance. If you see them fall or fail at something, and then they get back up to try again, that is also perseverance! If you see that your child is given an assignment by a teacher or coach, and then proceeds to complete it, that is perseverance. Especially if it takes them longer than another child to do so! Make it a habit to watch for any sign of this quality in your child – even if it is very small. And if you do not get a chance to watch your child often, listen carefully when they tell you about their experiences to see if you can recognize times they are using perseverance.
Praise your child for the perseverance that you see!
Praise your child for the perseverance that you see! Even if it is a very small example that you notice, be sure to praise your child for it! Do this by telling them very clearly exactly what you noticed, and why it shows you that they are using perseverance. If you make a point to praise your child for showing this quality, you will be amazed at how much more effort they will put into displaying it again.
Let your child know you are proud of the perseverance they show both when they succeed and when they fail! It is extremely important that your child knows you are proud of their perseverance at all times… especially when they fail. Remember – it is easy to praise your child for their perseverance when they have just learned a new skill, gotten a good grade, or won an event! But it is even more important to let them know you are proud of them at the times when they ‘fail’. For example, when your child comes home from practice discouraged because they have been working on a skill for 8 months and still have not learned it, you need to tell them that they are showing excellent perseverance for working so long and you are incredibly proud of them for that. And when your child studies extremely hard for a test, and then comes home with a terrible grade, let them know you are very proud of all the perseverance they showed in preparing diligently for that test. They need to know that you are happy with the quality that they are building, even when it doesn’t turn out the way they like. Those are the times, after all, that perseverance is most necessary and will keep them going.
It is extremely important that your child knows you are proud of their perseverance at all times
As you look for ways to encourage perseverance in your child, you are teaching them to value character first, and you are equipping them with tools that they can use successfully for the rest of their life! At the same time, they are learning exactly what they need to become outstanding at what they do, and to become the very best they can be!