Several of my kids were born with a Little Engine That Couldn't mentality. Even if no one asks them to pull an entire train over the mountain so that all the good little boys and girls on the other side can have good food to eat and toys to play with, it's too hard.
To which I reply:
- It's not too hard... with help.
- It's not too hard... if you keep trying.
- It's not too hard... if you talk yourself into it, instead of out of it.
- It's not too hard... it's just hard.
Doing hard things often makes kids whiny and resentful, which often results in irritated and cranky parents. Perhaps this is because we parents fall in the trap of thinking that parenting is too hard. It shouldn't be this difficult, should it? It shouldn't be this much work. It shouldn't require this much effort.
But hey -- it does. And it's not too hard... it's just hard. We can work at it, or not work at it. We can grow in patience, or indulge in impatience. We can learn to see things from a kid's perspective, or insist on our own.
The good thing is, we get to choose whether we're riding the Little Engine That Could or the Little Engine That Couldn't. We decide whether we think we can, or think we can't get better at this. We can opt to look at parenting as a way to become better people, or to look at it as an exercise in frustration.
I don't think it's hard to decide which of the two engines is the better bet. What takes effort is staying on the right train of thought.