Learning is Frustrating

Being a kid is tough. It’s tough because they’re learning—often by painful trial and error—an endless number of lessons about life. What they’re allowed to do and not. What happens when you touch something hot. How other people act. What feels good and what doesn’t. Plus they’re also in school learning academic knowledge too—math and science and reading and history.

It’s a lot.

We should understand that this is not only overwhelming, it’s frustrating and exhausting. Aren’t you exhausted when you start a new job and have to figure out all the ins-and-outs of the place? You feel like you’re taking in more than a person can possibly take in—plus you’re being zapped with negative feedback every time you make a mistake.

Well, here’s a piece of advice from the great Dr. Becky (from her amazing book Good Inside) that we can translate to our kids, but also to ourselves:

Here’s something I start saying to my kids early on: ‘Did you know that learning is hard? I mean it! Every single time any of us learns something new—me, you, everyone—it feels frustrating. And also, listen to this, because it’s weird…Frustration, that feeling of ‘Ugh, I can’t do it,’ or ‘Ugh, I want to just be done already!’…that’s a feeling that tries to trick our brain into telling us we’re doing something wrong, but actually this feeling is a sign that we’re learning and doing something right! It’s such a tricky thing. Let’s be on the lookout for that feeling so we can remind ourselves we are learning and that learning is supposed to feel this way.

Things are tough, things are frustrating because we’re learning, we as parents, them as kids. It’s fun to learn but it’s also exhausting. It’s supposed to be this way, just as lifting weights is supposed to make you sore. It’s the price you pay to get the thing you want—which is to learn, to be smart, to be capable, to get the hang of this life thing.

P.S. If this year has been a lot already, and you’re feeling like you could use a reset, it’s not too late to join our Daily Stoic Spring Forward challenge. It’s full of people learning together to get the hang of this life thing and wipe the slate clean from all the dirt and bad habits that have accumulated from these first couple months. From our first challenge alone (we just started today!) we’re already hearing how much time people have re-claimed in their schedules and spending it for more quality moments with friends and family. Registration is closing soon so head over to dailystoic.com/spring NOW to sign up while you still can!

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