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Teaching Your Kids to Deal with Adversity

As long as we are living, breathing individuals, there is going to be some form of adversity, at different times, and at different levels all throughout our lives. This is life.

And it’s something that we will continually be learning to deal with, or already know how to deal with, depending on how we look at the situation.

As adults, we understand that this is a part of living. So, how do we instill into our children the right mindset now in order to become well-functioning folks of society as adults?

Teaching kids how to deal with adversity isn’t hard. It’s a matter of explaining how to manage their emotions and actions, and use all adversity to their advantage. Adversity creates strength and fortitude and here are a few more reasons why adversity is a VERY positive thing in your child’s life.

Adversity Teaches Empathy: How hard is it to watch the other team win? Really hard. It eats right through your heart and soul, at times. You wanted so badly to win but didn’t. And when you lose, you feel sadness, loss, anger, and frustration. But guess what? These emotions are going to be the same emotions that other teammates are going to feel when YOU win the next game. Losing teaches us how to feel empathy. Odds are good that when your child wins the next game or does phenomenally well in their sport, that they can remember how bad it felt to lose. They can look at their opposing teammates and feel empathy -- knowing FULL well how it felt when they lost, too. Empathy is an enormous emotional asset. If you can acquire empathy and keep it, you will have attained a human emotion equal to gold. And hearts of gold go places!

Adversity Teaches Responsibility: How we react is the biggest factor in us becoming achievers or settling for “what life dealt us.” Responsibility for our actions, emotions, and reactions is what sets us apart from those who refuse responsibility. When we have the power to be happy for others, to not react when we lose, to act loving and kind when it’s the last thing we want to do, these are attributes that adversity creates EVERY time something difficult happens. Sure, your child can feel sadness or anger at significant events. This is normal! But choosing not to react -- choosing well when they want to choose bad -- and showing good sportsmanship when an obviously bad call was made, THAT is what makes each child stronger. When you teach your child that THEY are responsible for their actions and reactions, you’ve just given them a tool to work with to become an amazing person on or off the court.

Adversity Sets Goals: This is huge! When something happens that pushes your child’s wants, dreams, needs,

or desires back, it’s a teachable moment: It’s time to reset the goals, and go at it again with all the passion and drive they had before. Adversity isn’t what anyone wants! But without it, would we really be the best we could be? Setbacks end up making us better athletes, better human beings, and better at being flexible to obtain our dreams. Through trials come triumph, even if the triumph is delayed. Resetting goals becomes ground zero, but it pushes your child to become even better versions of themselves.

Think of your child as a baby tree getting them used to the wind so they become strong, towering trees. If they’re tied to the tree stake for too long as young saplings, they don’t build roots deep enough to force them to create their OWN strength when the inevitable winds and rain come. The same can be said for your child. If you don’t allow them to go THROUGH adversity now, they’ll have serious problems coping with adversity in the future as adults. They’ll never adequately grow roots to strengthen their emotional and physical core.

At EAT Sports, we teach and train your child to not only go through adversity but equip them with the knowledge and tools to COPE with it. This brings them to triumph through adversity to the end. We know that training them to cope with hardships NOW means they can cope with just about anything in life as they transition off the court into real life.

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