Tips On How To Build Resilience In Children
Giving your children a carefree childhood is a nice idea. But, let’s face it, it’s difficult to put into practice. The reality is: It is not just adults who have to deal with stress.
Children do sometimes face pressure, not only from the school curriculum but also from their peers and family.
As they mature, our children need to be able to deal with both success and failures – a quality we know as resilience. As parents, we can help them by learning how to teach them resilience. That way, we ensure that when they are faced with life’s setbacks, they will not be overwhelmed and will instead be able to bounce back and ready to face any challenges.
Although most parents want to protect their children from anything bad or hurtful for as long as possible, doing so can get in the way of teaching them crucial lessons about resilience. It is important to teach self-reliance, self-confidence, perseverance and resilience at an early age. Here’s how:
How to Build Resilience in Children
1) Encourage Them to Solve Problems
When your child is facing a problem, avoid the urge to jump in and help immediately. Instead, encourage her to explore ways of solving the predicament. For example, if she is disappointed that her teacher didn’t pick her to help carry some books, resist the temptation to call up the teacher to request her to let your child to do so!
Even though it may be the easiest thing to step in, there is a time and place to do so – and it is often later than what your parental instincts tell you. This is especially true as your child gets older.
Encourage your child to find ways to not be disappointed next time. With a bit of coaching, it won’t take your child too long before she realises that she has an option to volunteer help to her teacher. On her own, she will learn that she has the power to be self-reliant and change the outcome of events in her life.
2) Coach Valuable Life Skills
Raising resilient children includes helping and guiding them work through areas in which they might be weak or challenged. For instance, if your child is too shy to make friends, teach her how to greet a person and strike up a polite conversation. Allow her to practice in front of a mirror or with other members of the family.
You can even go beyond emotional and psychological life skills to practical ones. Cooking, cleaning, and even doing the laundry are life skills for children that they can learn – little by little – as early as now. Gaining the self-reliance to do real-world, practical tasks will boost your child’s confidence and teach him or her volumes about resilience.
3) Skip the Negativity
Raising resilient children means teaching them to deal with problems – but parents, remember not to be all doom and gloom! Don’t use dire outcomes as a warning. It will only scare them.
Instead of employing ineffective terror tactics, use all situations as opportunities for learning something positive. The American Psychological Association(1) emphasises the importance of a positive self-view. “Help your child remember ways that he or she has successfully handled hardships in the past,” they recommend, “and then help her understand that these past challenges help her build the strength to handle future challenges.”
So even if your child fails at an attempt to do something, she will naturally learn that every cloud has a silver lining. If you want to teach your child the value of perseverance, this kind of determination for children is a life-long valuable lesson.
4) Help Them Manage Emotions
Raising resilient children doesn’t mean that they need to be made of stone. Children should be allowed to get mad, frustrated or sad if they feel like it. However, teaching them to manage their emotions is a must. This is an important part of how to build adaptability in children.
If your child is disappointed in losing a game and sulks, tell her that you acknowledged her feelings. However, teach her that moping around doesn’t improve anything. Equipped with perseverance, she can turn it all around.
5) Allow Mistakes
As parents, we hate to see our children fail and make mistakes. However, raising resilient children means that they must be allowed to make mistakes(2) – every little experience helped them planting the seeds for their future.
If your child didn’t study for an exam and got a failing grade, ask her what she’s going to do to prevent it from happening again. Let her find a solution to avoid the unwanted result in the future. And once she learns how to do that, raising a persevering and self-reliant child is easy. These lessons that your children learn for themselves are far more valuable than any nagging or lecturing from you.
6) Be a Model of Resiliency
Helping your child become more resilient starts with yourself. After all, raising resilient children means you should be resilient too. Be a model of resilience and show your children that you will persevere on anything, even through hard times. If the family stumbles upon a problem, make it a habit to find a brighter side and say “We can get through this.”
How do you ensure that your children are growing up resilient? Share your tips with us here.