We would like to give a warm welcome to our second Cribsters Contributor, Stacy! Stacy is a mama of one energetic 2-year-old girl and is a director/teacher at her own in-home preschool, First Pages Preschool. She spends her days up to her elbows in blocks and dishes and preschool love. Her free time is spent outside with her family, trying to connect with her earthy side, and sharing her thoughts on her blog lifeonthreesides.com.
Be sure to check Stacy out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’!
Why You Should Fight the Urge to Save Your Kids From Frustration
As parents, we often wonder if we are doing it “right”. As a teacher also, I often wonder the same thing for my own daughter, and for my preschool kiddos as well. One of the toughest challenges is the idea of letting them figure things out for themselves. This notion that letting a child feel frustration is good for them, natural for them, and even healthy for them, is a tough one as a parent/teacher. It goes against our natural instincts, our desire to want to help, to ease their pain. We want to be the superhero parent or teacher we are, and “rescue” them from struggle.
More often than not, though, we do them a disservice when we don our cape and swoop in to eliminate the source of their struggle. It is this process of trying that is the lesson for them, and for all of us. It is so important for them to know that not everything will be easy, that they will not always succeed on their first try. It becomes our job as the adults to help them understand that it is the trying that is important. Frustration and struggle are part of the process; they are good feelings to know. They are signs that you are on the path to learn something new, to achieve a new goal.
We were at the park the other day with our preschool class, and my daughter wanted to climb this twisty ladder. It sort of looks like a DNA strand, that is almost six feet tall at the top. It was a tough challenge, and not one she had every accomplished before. It was an amazing process to watch her go through. She tried it once, and made it half way before having to slip down. Then she came back again and tried a second time, and made it a bit further before coming back down. Her strength was amazing to me. The way she supported her own body, twisted and moved and negotiated with just her arm strength just blew me away.
Then she came back a third time. Throughout these three trials, she got mad. She got frustrated. She yelled. She even shed a few tears of struggle. But this third time, she made it. She got to the top. And the look on her face was one I will never forget. And she didn’t say, “I did it!” and look for praise. She smiled, looked off in the distance, and said “I up here.“ It was her own joy of achievement, her own moment. She didn’t need me to tell her what a “great job” she did. You could see it in her face, that she was proud of herself. She persevered.
And I was so proud of her, too. Because I had struggled with her. I felt her cries, her shouts, her tears. I wanted to whip out my cape and save her, but I didn’t. I endured her struggle with her, and watched her succeed. And in the end, we were both rewarded. So very much more than if I had lifted her up to the top. She lifted us both.
She learned that even if things are hard, you shouldn’t give up. That you keep trying. That frustration and struggle are a natural part of the process of learning. They are just another feeling to work through, not one to hide from. I try to remember this lesson with all my kiddos. To help them understand and embrace their feelings, to name them, and to work through them, rather than try to take them away. It can be hard for us both, but I know they will all be better for it. And I still keep my cape tucked in my shirt, so I have it ready when they really need it.