No one wants their child to do badly, we all wish the best for our children. We want them to succeed and do better in life than we have done. There will though be hiccups along the way. Days where things didn’t work out or go according to plan. On those days we need to help our children learn to cope with failure. When your child has a bad day, we can use the failure to build their self-confidence back up. This will have many great effects on their life. They will learn that even if you make a mistake one day, you can make sure you don’t make it again and go on to success.
I believe that skateboarding is an excellent tool for this learning process. Skateboarding is difficult. When we first start to skateboard we feel that it may be impossible to learn, that is why many kids switch to BMX and then maybe a scooter. Both of these sports are easier to get to grips with.
All tricks need you to try them out. You will hardly ever land a trick first try as you learn. What you and your child then have to do is work out where they went wrong. As they get closer to the trick, they will start to put together what is working and what is not. They will be building on their failure and slowly become successful.
Have a look at this video on dealing with kickflip problems. It is all about knowing and learning that you can take your failure and correct the mistakes to land a kickflip.
Building your child’s resilience
Learning a skateboard trick will teach your child resilience. They will learn about “losing,” this will help them to learn about dealing with anxiety and how to crush it. It will also help to stop strops and meltdowns. These skills will be invaluable for your child when they go to school and college or university in later life.
What you as a parent must never do is put pressure on your child to land a trick or be the best. It is much harder to learn if you keep heaping pressure on your child, you’ll also not be enjoying yourself either. There is nothing wrong with giving a high five when your child lands a trick though.
You just don’t want to be shouting at them to land it. If you do that your child will hate skateboarding and eventually trying anything new. Work with your kid, and you’ll have great memories together.
Show empathy to your child
If your child is having a hard time learning a trick. Sit down and talk about it with them. Don’t just give your child the stock answer of many parents, “You’ll do better next time.” To a child, this feels like you don’t understand them and are ignoring their feelings.
Get down to your child’s level and explain that you can see that they are having a bad time and you understand that they want to do better within themselves. That will be validating how they feel and may be all they need to get back up and dust themselves off.
Tell them about your failures
You probably don’t want to admit to being fallible to your child. It though is a great way to help them grow, and you can become your child’s role model. It will save them from looking up to flawed athletes. You’ll also get to feel better about yourself by doing this.
Tell your child about a time it took you many tries before you finally succeeded. If you do this, your child will grow to understand that failure is a part of growth. You will be equipping them to better deal with issues that they will come across when there is no one there to hold their hand.
It is now a teachable moment
Your child will now be looking for advice to help avoid another round of failing. Here is a moment for you and your child to jump into problem-solving skills. Ask your child if they feel there was something wrong about how they tried to start a trick.
Did they feel that their feet were in the wrong place, did they not pop enough, or any one of a myriad of problems. Even if you know nothing about skateboarding if you watch your child try, you will start to pick up on how things should look or be done. Even better try and learn to skateboard with your child, your child can then see you have difficulty, and you can work through things together.
Together you can learn to build acceptance of failure, and an ability to deal with frustration. It can be very frustrating when you are really close to landing a trick but just can’t get your feet back on. If you get frustrated, you’ll never land it, so learning to cope with frustration is a great skill.
Sit back and enjoy your child having fun
There will come a point where your child will need you less. They will be progressing at theire own speed. They will have conquered anxiety and frustration and all that is left is for you to watch them enjoying themselves.
Enjoy these moments as you deserve them as well.
If you have any tips feel free to leave them in the comments.