Resilience is a 21st Century parenting concept that every parent needs to understand.
Some children are resilient by nature- their temperament helps them to be mentally and psychologically tough. You know those children. They get straight back up after a set back or disappointment. Rejection in the play ground doesn’t faze them. Unfortunately, not every child has such natural resilience.
The good news is that most of the research shows that resilience can be nurtured and developed, particularly when parents themselves are resilient and they actively foster it in their kids.
Resilient kids share four basic skill sets- independence, problem solving, optimism and social connection. From a resilience perspective parents can coach their child through some of their more challenging moments and reflect with them what they may have learned for next time. Avoid solving all their problems for them.
You can promote a lasting sense of resilience in your kids by:
- Having a positive attitude yourself. Your attitude as a parent impacts on their ability to bounce back from some of the difficulties they face. Make sure you model a ‘ you can do it’ attitude for your child when he/she meets some of life’s curve balls.
- Look for teachable moments. Many kids learning opportunities are disguised as problems. Make the most of these opportunities so that kids can grow and learn from some of the challenges they face.
- Make kids active participants in the family. Active participation in a family develops self help, problem solving and independence skills of kids that are necessary for resilience.
- Build kids coping skills. There are plenty of strategies you can pass on to kids to help them cope when life doesn’t go their way, including acceptance, getting away for a while and normalizing the event.
Promoting resilience in kids is a not a single event but a continuous process that requires adults to be supportive and empathetic when things don’t go their way. It also requires you as a parent to have an understanding of resilience, so you have faith in yourself and your child’s ability to cope.