“Why are you making me do hard things?”All of the sudden, this vibrant, outgoing child went from laughing, bouncing around, to slumped shoulders, head down, her voice wavering. This is a question I hear on an almost daily basis from my pediatric patients. And the answer is because I know you can do it, but more importantly, I want YOU to know you can do it.
So many children suffer from low self esteem or anxiety and are fearful to try new things because they think they will won’t be able to do them. Often times these feelings of inadequacy are masked as joking, negative behaviors or defiance. As an occupational therapist I am always striving to provide patients with the “Just Right Challenge,” a term originally coined by the Sensory Integration Pioneer, Jean Ayers. It describes that sweet spot of an activity that is not too easy, but not too difficult. It is important to me that every session feel successful to the patient, but it is also important to challenge the patient, if not for those challenges it would be difficult to see growth.
Next time you see your child hesitant to try something new or challenging, encourage them. Or maybe you yourself need to try something challenging. Think of how great it felt the last time you accomplished something you didn’t think you could do, lets help your children experience those feelings too.
I believe in you.