As much as we like to win all the time, it’s not always possible. There are times when we are unable to achieve the goals we had set for ourselves or expect certain results from a project we are working on. What is important, as adults and parents, is to accept disappointments and dejections and maturely deal with them.
Similarly, as parents, it is imperative to teach children how to deal with the same feelings. Whether it's academics, sports or competitions, parents should teach children to navigate ups and downs.
I have also said quite a few times in my columns that the best way to teach children is to be role models. They observe your behaviour and mimic those. So, if they see you positively dealing with defeat and starting afresh, children will do the same.
Parents can talk to their children about how to deal with peer pressure when it comes to achievements. For example, if your child doesn't do well in school or competition, and comes home crying or looking sad, the best way to deal with this is to talk to your child. Explain that it is not the end of the world and try again to meet your goal. Share your own experiences from your childhood so that the child can relate to them. Talk to them about your coping mechanisms or methods of handling dejection and disappointments. You can also give them examples of successful people and how they overcame their losses and turned them into victories slowly and gradually. I feel parents talking about their experiences makes a lot of difference for the child.
Also, please do not be aggressive or harsh with the child. Shouting or yelling will take you nowhere. Rather, the child will feel more pressure, which is not good.
Encourage your children to do their best, give them a pep talk and instil positivity by using affirmations like ‘next time you will do better’ and ‘it's not the end of the world.’
Also, do not compare your child’s achievements with another child. If your child has achieved a certain result, do not ask him/her how much their friends have received. Every child is different and every child is capable of different things. So, you cannot compare two children because that is not the answer to the solution.
I keep stressing in every column that parents need to be polite so that children do not feel scared. S/he is already feeling down for not being able to achieve goals; do not add to it.
Parents should also create an environment where children can freely ask for guidance without feeling weary. Children tend to go into a shell when they feel their worries or queries will not be received positively by their parents. If you realise your child is not talking or bottling up thoughts and feelings, motivate your child to be expressive. Let him/her freely talk to you about their worries and problems.
Success comes with perks and rewards, but the road to success isn’t an easy one and children need to be made aware that they will face roadblocks. Overcoming those hurdles and moving on is important, learning from mistakes and not repeating those is the key to inculcating a positive attitude.
I do the same with my daughter. When she comes home, unhappy with her achievements, I sit her down, hug her and tell her that it’s okay, she can try again and do better next time. I always tell her I am there to help her and if she doesn't understand something, I am willing to teach that particular subject or the lesson 100 times or till she understands it; until she says ‘Ok, mom, I've got it.’ I also tell her it doesn't matter whether you pass or not, I love her no matter what. These words matter a lot to the child and work wonders. She understands and trusts me and that's when the results happened. That's when you know they are encouraged and motivated.
Parents need to motivate their children and give them love always – whether the child comes first or last. Parenting is not easy; it comes with a lot of responsibilities. The child needs all the support and love from home and it has to start with you.
(Riddhima Kapoor Sahni is a fashion and jewellery designer, and daughter of veteran actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor)
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