Alternatives to Can’t

As parents of young kids, our kids are at this beautiful stage of learning new things and desiring to learn more new things.  Our oldest happens to be very competitive.  That's great until he starts something difficult for him.  He tends to get frustrated because of his desire to learn something new.  

The other day, he stated, "Mom, I can't do it."  Due to how I was raised, I immediately said to him, "Don't say you "can't" do something."  Later that day, I thought about what I had told him.  And then, I thought about how I occasionally and casually stated that he can't do something yet.  For example, whenever he wants to play a game that the older kids are playing, I tell him that he can't play that game yet.  I realized that the way I communicate with him can be confusing.

I made it an issue to discuss what I realized with my husband, Jerrel.  We agreed that our communication with our kids could improve.  We decided to make a pledge to more effectively focus on no longer saying "can't" to our kids.  We discussed some alternatives to communicate with our sons.

(1) You are still learning to do that

(2) You are yet to do that, but let's work on building up to doing that

(3) You are great in this other area, and that is very important

The three alternatives focus on three scenarios.  We understand that there will be times when our kids can learn to do some things all by themselves.  That is when the first statement can be effective, (1) "You are still learning to do that."  We also understand that some lessons will require support or a teacher to help them achieve an ability.  That is when the second statement can be effective, (2) "You are yet to do that,  but let's work on building up to doing that."  And last, there are unfortunate things that our kids may not be able to achieve due to physical or other reasons.  That is where the third statement can be effective, (3) "You are great in this other area, and that is very important."  The third statement is the last resort statement.  We want our kids to make attempts to achieve their full potential.  However, Jerrel and I agree that we want our kids to stay confident in who they are and understand the value they bring to society, a team, an organization, themselves, and our family.

Above is the approach we are taking to facilitate learning and not diminish confidence in our kids.  I know that parenting can be different for others.  The overall goal is to make sure our kids get a chance to shine.  Confidence is essential for adults, so think of how important confidence is to a kid.

What are ways that you maintain the confidence within your learning child?

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