3 Simple Ways to Help Kids Get UnstuckAug 22, 2022
Kids get stuck all the time. Some give up while others persevere.
Before giving up though, kids will give out signs that they are spinning their wheels. It can show up as: self-doubt, self-deprecation, lowered confidence, lowered belief in their abilities. Once certain foundational narratives take over the minds of our kids (for example "I'm not good at math" "I'm not able to win that game" "I can't do what he does"), they can turn into self-fulling prophecies into adulthood. As a parent, you probably have examples of your own narratives that hold you back.
If you notice that your child is stuck somewhere, guide them to get unstuck by following some of these strategies.
# 1 Talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend.
Helping your best friend is easy: chances are that you would pour out words with kindness, consideration, support and love. A meaningful relationship to ourselves will last an entire lifetime, so spend some time being your own best friend.
Why does this work? Kindness to ourselves gives us freedom from our harsh judgements. Not being able to start an essay does not mean we are not intelligent, not capable or less worthy. In fact, it probably means we value the outcome of the work and reflects a caring and considerate person who cares deeply about putting good quality work in the world. That’s something to be applauded rather than shamed. Kindness from best friends unleashes a new perspective on seeing a situation. Kindness towards ourselves makes us feel comforted and loved for exactly who we are.
# 2 Immerse yourself in something completely different.
A good way to get unstuck is to go do something completely different and ensure that you are fully immersed in the experience. The goal is to just shut off one part of your brain and engage another part of your brain fully before you tackle the problem that you’re stuck on.
Why does this work? Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but distance also makes the problem smaller. New perspectives become more clear when you give the problem some distance. You get the chance to think about things from a different vantage point. Science suggests that when we are stuck, our emotional state turns into overwhelm which then makes the problem more sticky. Next time overwhelm takes over: change your environment and lose yourself in the experience!
# 3 Study others who’ve done it before.
Identifying problems and overcoming them is in our human nature and the reason we have survived as a species for this long. The study of how other people overcome their problems is a simple and effective way of overcoming our own woes.
Why does this work? Exposing our kids to role models inspires them to take action with confidence that their work will translate to desired outcomes. This charged energy translates to increased aptitudes for taking on more challenges, even when it’s not easy to do so. Role models inspire others to do their best, whether it's following others’ footsteps or creating their own paths.