Five Ways to Help Your Child Cope Positively With Discouraging People
By Michael Grose
Part of growing up and growing away from you means that children
meet with many people who can be discouraging or negative toward
them. Nitpickers, fault-finders and verbal bullies can be found in
any playground. They exist in many families too.
Some kids have deflon-coated hides and can easily brush off
criticism or discouragement. Most children, like adults, can be
stung by discouragement. Receive enough of it and their self-esteem
takes a dive and they begin to take fewer risks for fear of being
criticized for making mistakes.
As a parent you can help children deal with discouraging or
disparaging experiences and remarks. Here are five ideas that may
help you help children deal with discouragement:
Tell your children they don't have to agree! If you are told
often enough that you are inadequate in some way then it is hard
not to agree with the assessment. Children can disagree quietly
with a discouraging statement. It is a matter of being aware of
their self-talk. When on the receiving end of discouragement that
can say something like, "Nuh, I don't agree with that. I am a
smart kid." Positive self-talk can help deflect criticism and
lessen the personal hurt.
Show you understand how they feel. Let them know that you know
what it is like to be put down or discouraged. Children are able
to draw strength when they know that their parents generally know
how they feel about a situation. Above all let children know that
they will survive put downs and criticism and that things will get
better. They always do.
Talk about the source of the discouragement so that children
gain perspective. Children often lose perspective so a reality
check can help them realize that the sun will rise tomorrow or
that the discouraging person really needs help. Let them know that
they shouldn't take put downs personally. In effect, the problem
lies with the discourager.
Give them some social skills needed to cope. Some children are
hard to ruffle with criticism. Their body language and verbal
response is such that they deflect any criticism. Sometimes giving
kids suitable comeback lines can help them deal with the criticism
or discouragement they experience. Or even strong body language
can help lessen the verbal stings.
Provide plenty of encouragement yourself. The encouragement
that a parent gives has a snowball effect that helps children deal
with all sorts of difficulties. The constant encouragement and
strong sense of belief by a significant adult (i.e a parent or
grandparent) can have an amazing affect on a child. It helps
insulate them against negative stuff.
Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent coach. He
is the director of Parent Coaching Australia, the author of six
books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in
Australian Singapore and the USA. For free courses and resources to
help you raise happy kids and resilient teenagers visit