While maturity comes with significant obligations, childhood is not without its challenges. Children take examinations, learn new material, switch schools, relocate, become ill, receive braces, encounter bullies, make new friends, and are occasionally harmed by those friends.
Resilience is what helps children through these types of adversities. Problem solvers are resilient children. They are faced with unknown or difficult situations and attempt to develop good answers. However, she stated that a parent’s role is not to be present for their children all of the time. It is to educate kids on how to deal with uncertainty and solve problems. Here are some ideas for developing resilient children.
- Don’t accommodate every need.
When we strive to give assurance and comfort, we are impeding children’s ability to build their own problem-solving and mastery. (Overprotecting children simply adds to their distress.)
For example, a student leaves school at 3:15 p.m. However, they are concerned about their parent picking them up on time. So the parent arrives an hour early and parks near their child’s classroom so the teacher knows they are there.
In another case, since they are too uncomfortable to sleep in their own room, parents let their 7-year-old sleep on a mattress on the floor in their bedroom.
- Avoid eliminating all risks.
Parents, understandably, want to keep their children safe. However, removing all risks robs children of their learning resilience. Lyons knows of one household where the children are not permitted to eat while their parents are not around due to the risk of choking on their meal. (If your children are old enough to be at home alone, they are also old enough to eat.)
- Teach them to problem-solve.
Assume your youngster wants to attend sleep-away camp but is concerned about being away from home. “Well, then, there’s no need for you to go,” a worried parent would reply.
However, normalizing your child’s worry and assisting them in navigating being homesick is a preferable strategy. So you may ask your youngster how they can practice being away from home.
- Teach your kids concrete skills.
When Parent works with children, they concentrate on the precise skills they will need to master to deal with various scenarios. “Where are we heading with this [situation]?” they wonder. What abilities do they require to get there?” For example, she may teach a shy child how to greet strangers and strike up a conversation.
- Avoid “why” questions.
“Why” queries aren’t conducive to problem-solving. If your child abandons their bike in the rain and you’re wondering “why?” “What are they going to say?” I was irresponsible. I’m eight years old.
Instead, ask “how” inquiries. “You left your bike out in the weather for too long, and the chain rusted.” “How are you going to solve that?” Individuals may, for example, go online to learn how to repair the chain or donate money to the construction of a new chain.
- Don’t provide all the answers.
Rather than giving your children every solution, begin by saying “I don’t know,” and then encourage problem-solving. Using this sentence teaches children to endure ambiguity and to consider future problems.
Starting with modest circumstances while children are young also helps them prepare for larger ones. They will not like it, but they will become accustomed to it.
- Avoid talking in catastrophic terms.
Take note of what you say to and around your children. Anxious parents, in particular, have a tendency to speak very negatively around their children. Instead of saying, “It’s really essential for you to learn to swim because it’d be dreadful to me if you drowned,” say, It’s critical that you learn to swim since drowning would be awful to me.
- Let your kids make mistakes.
Failure is not the end of the world. It’s the location you arrive at after deciding what to do next. Allowing children to make mistakes is difficult and unpleasant for parents. However, it teaches children how to correct mistakes and make better judgments in the future.
When a child has an assignment, concerned or overprotective parents often want to ensure that the project is flawless, even if their child has little interest in performing it in the first place. However, let your children witness the repercussions of their behavior.
Similarly, if your child does not want to attend football practice, Lyons advises allowing them to stay at home. They’ll undoubtedly feel awkward sitting on the bench the next time.
- Help them manage their emotions.
Emotional control is essential for resilience. Teach your children that all emotions are normal. It’s okay to be upset when you lost the game or someone else ate your ice cream. Also, remind them that after experiencing their emotions, they must consider their next steps.
- Model resiliency.
Of course, children learn through seeing their parents’ actions. Try to remain cool and consistent; you cannot tell a youngster that you want them to control their emotions while you are freaking out.
Parenting requires a lot of work, and we all make mistakes.
“When you make a mistake, admit it. I messed up. I’m sorry for how I handled that. Let’s speak about a new approach in the future.
Resiliency helps children manage the inevitable ups and downs of childhood and adolescence. Resilient children grow into resilient adults, capable of surviving and thriving in the face of life’s inescapable pressures.
Rose .A. Milani,
Parent Coach and Registered Mental Health Counsellor
Based in Melbourne, Australia