At the risk of this question being overly vague in its title; I'll provide a little more detail on a specific issue. I taught my son to ride a bike last summer after he had just turned 4 years old. It took a lot of encouragement and reassurance that the risk he was taking was safe and worthwhile. I convinced him that if he fell I would likely catch him, and if not his helmet and large assortment of pads would protect his body from the fall. His older sister is a natural born risk taker, she is 7 years old and learned to ride a bike last summer as well, in about 15 minutes. Eventually he learned as well, and it really didn't take him long once he decided to really try.
Currently, we are working on learning to fly RC helicopters that they received as gifts during the holidays. I've worked out a "flight school" curriculum consisting of 10 lessons which increase gradually in difficulty. Both children have made it to the final lesson, my daughter completed it, but my son is getting frustrated with how many times he has failed and wants to quit.
This exemplifies a tendency in him to quit. I try to remind him of how proud I am of all the effort he has put into developing this skill, and how far he has come. We seem to have hit a wall, and it has been several days since he has given it any effort. Again, the larger issue here is perseverance in general. More alarming examples of this are creative projects which he almost never attempts. Activities like:
- Drawing pictures
- building with lego blocks
- playing with play dough
are difficult to even get off the ground. I try to avoid comparisons between him and his sister, instead emphasizing the fun of doing the activity together. How do I encourage him to take (safe) risks and to never give up?