Why Children say ‘I can’t…’
Parenting can be the hardest job there is. A lifelong commitment, you teach your children how to walk, how to talk, you teach them good manners and much more. You encourage, support, comfort, reassure and inspire your children in order to help them grow up to be good, decent adults. But, if you are there to help, protect and to catch them when they fall, why do children say ‘I can’t…’?
Every parent has heard these immortal words uttered from their child. Whether they’re spoken by a nervous boy, stood on the side of a swimming pool, refusing to jump in the water, or a girl who is afraid to talk to the other girls in the schoolyard, or a child who feels incapable of trying hard in a particular school lesson, the foundations of this LACK of belief in themselves is entirely the same
It can be quite frustrating for you as a parent to hear your child mutter ‘I can’t…’ when you KNOW that your child can. Despite all your encouragement, incitement and even bribery, your child steadfastly refuses to even attempt something that you categorically know he or she is capable of.
As well as adults, children create their beliefs (assumptions regarded as true) about themselves and the world in which they live from the events that they experience and, more importantly, from the way in which they PROCESS these experiences.
As an example, there are two children at the top of a playground slide, both very nervous about sliding down. After much encouragement both children take the plunge and come down the slide. One child may positively process this experience as ‘I was scared but I did it anyway. I can do stuff that’s a little bit scary’ but the other may process EXACTLY the same experience as ‘That was horrible. It was so scary for me. I can’t do that again’
The first child has created a positive, empowering belief that they can tackle tricky situations and will face future challenging events with that can-do approach. The second child however, has created a powerless limiting belief and will be less likely to attempt challenging experiences. Irrespective of the fact that they both completed the scary task, they have come away from the experience with very different standpoints.
It is simply a case of how they see, view and process the evidence in front of them.
So, if you think of the millions of events and experiences that your own child has had so far in their lives, you can see how limiting some of these negative beliefs can be.
However, the fantastic news is that ‘I can’t…’ is simply a belief. And beliefs can change.
As someone who has helped many children overcome fears, phobias, confidence and behavioural issues (which are all essentially beliefs) I see first-hand how, when they learn how to process the events in their lives positively, they change their whole viewpoint on life and its challenges.
If you’d like to know more, have a look at my website HERE
By Simon Mason ATPC
Licensed Thrive Programme Consultant
01296 583789 / 07789 600199