Recently, one of our behavior specialists told a story about being involved in a Third Grade class learning some new recess games. One girl, who struggles with sensory integration and an attention deficit, decided that the game was too hard and she wasn’t going to play. The specialist was struck with a dilemma; these were recess games, and therefore optional. But, on the other hand, they were learning the games in class time. Every so often these situations arise, where as adults, we have to really think about where to guide these kids.

Everyone does things that they don’t want to do – that is just how life goes. When you think back on your life, we’re willing to bet that many of your life’s successes can be traced back to an adult telling you to do something mundane or difficult that you didn’t want to do. This particular specialist told the story of being a young child at a music camp – armed with a trombone and a lot of strangers, she did not want to go to the camp. In addition, her main teacher was a man with a dry sense of humor that she didn’t understand, and she had trouble keeping up with the work. She went home and proclaimed, “Mom! I do not want to go back there. I quit trombone.”

Did her Mom let her quit? No. Did she try to find out what the real problem was? Yes. When she established the problem, she asked her to practice that trombone until she improved. The next day, the girl went back to the camp. She was uncomfortable, but she learned to face her discomfort. Isn’t that a picture of adult life, though? We’ve heard that most of life’s successes come from just ‘turning up’. Obviously you need to do more than just turn up, but first things first!

Take a step back, and look at the big picture. Asking your child to stick with something isn’t about exerting your power. You’re not being bossy or unreasonable. You are setting your child up for a life of productive habits, employability and committed relationships.

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