Goal setting is a life skill. If you think of goal setting as teaching a life skill rather than helping your child reach a destination, it can take the pressure off the big goal itself. Every little step towards a big goal is just as important as the trophy raising moment itself.
The problem with setting big goals is that they can be easily derailed. Even for adults, working towards a big or long term goal takes mental effort and commitment. It can be an emotional rollercoaster as failures and set backs are experienced. So for children, who are still developing emotional resilience, a failure on the road to a big goal can feed into low self esteem or lack of confidence. Although we don't want to smooth the road out too much for them, we do want to prepare one that provides just the right amount of resilience building 'bumps' along the way, giving them a chance to feel they've got some miles under their belt before they hit another bump in the road.
If there's 6 things to remember when setting goals with a child, it would be these:
Enjoy watching your child set goals and thrive!
What if the fear of your child lacking self-esteem is leading you to a response that tries to make your child feel OK by telling them they’ve done well, rather than guiding them to discover and believe that themselves? A response that helps you feel better in the moment but doesn’t build foundations of resilience for your child.
It’s easily done. And it ‘feels’ like the right response in the moment. But what if I told you that you didn’t always have to panic respond with a, “but that’s brilliant, darling” when your child clearly doesn’t think it is? How would that feel? Liberating?
We need to accept as mothers, that there will be times our children lack confidence in themselves and that our job is to teach them resilience skills and guide them, not fix it for them. To do this we need to free ourselves from using our children’s emotional ups and downs as a measure of how good a job we are doing. A good mother and a child with emotional struggles are not mutually exclusive. When we instinctively react to smooth the moment over, we're actually reacting to soothe ourselves under the illusion we're helping our children. Like a mama bear in protect mode, hearing negative words that sound destructive and damaging coming from the mouth of someone we love more than life itself, feels like facing our worst nightmares. It hurts.
Taking a moment to read the situation is a skill, but one we can all learn. And those moments of pause can reduce our parenting anxiety and support our child at the same time. Let me tell you what I mean ...
Hey! I'm the founder, creator and voice of Ink and Scribbles. Sharing thoughts on child well-being and parenting that are based on my teaching and parenting experience, and NLP learning.