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What to Do When Your Kid Says "I Can't Do It!"

Check out 5 ways to help your kids persevere through challenges that they may go through on weekly basis.

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“I can’t do it!”

“It’s too hard!”

“I give up.”

We hear these words all too often as parents. Sometimes you just want to jump in right away and help when your kid struggles to tie their shoes, pack their lunch, or get through their math homework. However, you want to raise independent problem-solvers by giving them the opportunity to learn and conquer their challenges on their own.

Teaching a growth mindset is not about succeeding every time, but it’s about trying your absolute best. Let’s explore some ways that we can teach our kids to persevere.

1. Let your kid take on the challenge.

Acknowledge the difficulty of the task. Say, “I know this is hard, but God is with you to help you do hard things!” instead of “That’s easy! You can do it, just try harder.” 

Giving them space to struggle gives them a space to learn. Take time to explain to your kid that when they struggle to do hard things, they are learning how strong they are, and what strengths they have in order to overcome their challenge.

2. Teach positive self-talk, like:

“This is hard, but I think I can do it.”

“I am having a hard time on this, so I am going to take a break and come back to it.”

“God has given me the strength to do hard things so I’m going to push through.”

Positive parenting helps children regulate emotions. Model these phrases when you are working through your own challenges, so your kid can see them in action.

3. Read stories in the Bible about perseverance.

Reading these stories can help put your child’s challenge into perspective; and let them know that God will see them through.

Noah obeyed God by building a giant boat and living on it for 40 days and nights. (Genesis 6-7)

Daniel was taken from his home to a new place. He was told he had to stop praying to God, but Daniel showed grit and continued to pray. He was even thrown into a den of lions, but Daniel trusted God to take care of him. (Daniel 6)

4. Encourage, encourage, encourage.

Whether your kid’s attempt to tackle their challenge was successful or not, take time to express that you’re proud of them. Point out the specific ways you saw them use grit. Thank them for trying their hardest. God sees when we try our very best, and he is thankful when we do.

5. Pray.

Pray together as a family to ask God to give you grit. Create this habit so that when your kids face challenges, they can pray on their own to ask God for help to persevere. Here is a prayer you can use:

Dear Lord, thank you for the example of grit that Jesus showed us in the Bible. Thank you that Jesus never gave up even though he faced the hardest challenge of all the cross. Please help us to always have grit when we are facing hard challenges. Thank you for helping us do hard things. Amen.

For more kid content about perseverance, check out:

LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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