Tips for Raising Resilient Children
Resilience is a strong and important word these days. 150 years ago parents who built homes on the frontier learned resilience in a different way. Their children were also taught resilience in a different way because they had to be strong both physically and mentally with no questions asked. Most went to church and acquired their faith from their belief in their religion and faith got them through the many hardships they faced living in the wilderness. Some lived in towns where most didn’t have the luxuries that we have today. Expectations were different and this was not the time where psychologists and therapy were in abundance for people to talk about their weaknesses. People were shunned that were weak and many kept their depression inside and this was a trickle-down effect for many generations. Small children at the age of nine years old came over on ships from far away lands without parents and made it on their own. This was true self-taught resilience. The world has changed and everything is at our fingertips that people take for granted. Therefore, parents have to think about resilient and teach their kids about resilience using different methods. Here are some tips.
Parents tend to have expectations and think if no news is good news, they are raising their children right. The answer to that is you might want to second guess yourself and keep your expectations in check and out of the picture for a moment and think about the experiences you and your family have faced.
Being their friend
When your kids are having problems and don’t know the solution, don’t fix the circumstances. Talk to them about being strong and finding the right answer to solve their problems. Encourage your child to put some effort into the solution or they will go through life expecting you to solve all their problems including money problems.
You don’t always have to be the mom that’s cool and arranges social events for your children. Let them take the ball into their court and make friends. Popularity is something we all want but friends are not counted by quantity, they are counted by quality. It’s better to have a few good friends than many friends that aren’t necessarily setting the right example for your child. All kids are going to feel rejection at times but talk to them and teach them the social skills for finding their niche with the right crowd where they feel like they have something in common.
Being present for them
Support is very important on the road to teaching a child to be resilient. It’s important to teach your child how to stay motivated during a crisis. Life isn’t always going to go smoothly for kids and when the going gets tough, be there and offer some advice if they ask you to or if they keep hitting a brick wall.
Let your child pour out their emotions even though this may be very painful for you. Tell your child it’s fine to cry and be upset when life gets unbearable for them. Show your compassion when you see your child is hurting. If you happen to have an introvert that keeps things inside, try to figure out why they are behaving the way they are and ask them if they need help figuring out why they are so upset. Be a listener, kids don’t always want to listen to your experiences as a child when you were their age, but they want to be able to pour out their feelings to someone they trust and you want to make sure your child can come to you or your significant other for advice.
Many parents allow their kids to swear at a young age to get their anger out. Some parents even allow their kids to go and break things when life is getting impossible. This really isn’t the best idea because this carries over into adulthood and then their kids will be swearing and breaking things when they are angry. Setting boundaries means to let them be emotional and understand that they have feelings they have to express. You also have to teach them they simply can’t use abuse in your house towards their pets, objects they enjoy, your household objects and people. If you have small children, make sure they are in a safe area when they are venting and throwing themselves on the floor over something that happened at school. You still have to set boundaries when they are young so they don’t hurt themselves or anyone else. The important thing is you still want them to talk to you.
Show your support and validation
Make sure that you always tell them that you are confident in their abilities to succeed. Kids are just realizing that they are facing something that is foreign to them and this is called a challenge. This is something they are totally unfamiliar with and very uncomfortable with. They are unsure of how to express themselves so helping them by telling them you have faith in them helps them believe in themselves. Eventually, they start learning how to solve the little problems in life. Of course, parents still have to set the example because they are always watching you and how you relate to others. Eventually, they will succeed in these new challenges and start to believe in themselves. Once you see they have accomplished some successes on their battleground, keep that under your hat until the next challenge comes along for reference.
Be their role model
Parents also have to be a good role model when it comes to them being resilient. Tell your kids some of the things you face on a daily basis when they are in a good mood, so they realize that their parents have the same problems they do only on a grander level. Share some of your smaller mistakes with them because it helps kids see that you are only human.
Don’t expect to have the perfect family because when you help your kids through their challenges by giving advice, you are giving them one of the greatest tools of life to work with. Everyone goes through a few tough knocks in school and in the workplace. If your middle schooler is having a bad year, every child in middle school has at least one bad year understanding the changes. It could be hormones, the adjustment that they hit the double-digit years or changing schools. Navigating through these crises help build resilience and if you have a perfect family, you can’t help them build resilience.
Tell your children to choose their battles in life. There are times you are going to feel overwhelmed and you just want to stop the merry go round and fix the problem but don’t. Remember one thing, you are doing your kids a favor by teaching them to be resilient. All parents feel good when they have that sense of empowerment, so that’s how you want your child to feel is empowerment. Make sure you tell them that you are the master of your own universe and this is what you want them to understand. They have to be the master of their own universes as well and they can do this without violence, without anger, and without hurting other people. They too can face life’s challenges head-on and become that resilient person they want their children to be.