Resilience is the quality of bouncing back – quickly, from hardships, unpleasant experiences, unwarranted changes, etc. It by no means implies that it’s a quality of being unaffected by trying times or hardships.
Why should we even discuss resilience in kids?
According to kidsdata.org, nearly half of U.S. children have experienced at least one adverse childhood event. Childhood adversities such as abuse, exposure to violence, substance or drug abuse, and poverty—can have negative, long-term impacts on health and well-being.
As a parent, you might as well be keen to know what it takes to raise resilient kids that don’t give up in any situation. We’ll spare you any more factual details and scientific theories, and talk more about solutions than the problem.
We’ll take you straight to 5 actionable and effective parenting tips to raise resilient kids (but not stubborn loners):
1.Build your child’s emotional vocabulary
Being able to recognize and express feelings and emotions is the first step towards building resilience. This applies to both adults and children alike! Empower your kids with an active emotional vocabulary. Try to use differentiating words like feeling heavy versus feeling dejected or just generally upset about something. Tell your children the difference and encourage them to articulate their emotions using words.
A great way is to teach them how to ask questions to themselves and evaluate their emotional state. For example, “are you feeling completely let down by your friend or is it just a general frustration after the tiff?”
2. Give your child opportunities to practice life skills
Learning life skills is one thing and applying them in real life is another. Give your child ample chances to practice the skills. This is the key to raising resilient kids.
For example, at the supermarket, let them help people lift a thing or let them engage in age-appropriate volunteering work. Helping others is a great way to understand hardships and possible turnarounds.
3. Don’t over accommodate their needs
If you’re an overprotective parent, you’ll have a harder time raising resilient kids. Don’t provide for every demand and don’t over-assist your child. Instead, encourage them to find their own ways out unless a situation is hazardous.
For example, the next time your child runs to you after a bad experience in a group game, encourage them to resolve the conflict by reasoning and questioning their mates. Don’t run to the ground and reason with other children or their parents on your child’s behalf. But of course, keep an eye on the situation and know when to intervene.
4. Play board games to teach delayed gratification and to model resilience
Playing board games like Settlers of Catan, Chess, Monopoly, etc. can do wonders! These board games not only teach decision-making but also teach children how to wait for the final gratification (game outcome) and crisis management. Always, evaluate the game once finished with your children. Encourage them to evaluate how certain moves and decisions impacted the game.
Additionally, you could model resilience while playing these games and showcasing how you think and act when faced with a tough situation or a major loss during the game.
5. Manage your reactions when they make mistakes
Lastly, managing your own reactions can go a long way in raising resilient kids. Don’t blame your children when they make mistakes, instead encourage them to acknowledge and evaluate their mistakes. Yelling at them or making derogatory remarks can damage their self-esteem. This loss will then manifest as nervousness while handling changes or difficult situations. Encourage your child to trust their instincts and let them make mistakes while experimenting with life situations.
Resilience is an acquired skill. It means that raising resilient kids is also a learning curve for the parents. We are already proud of the fact that you read up this article and are keen on raising resilient kids.
Remember, resilient kids are problem solvers, they know how and when to ask for help. Be their coach and foster a supportive relationship with them. They will learn by example the most and hence you are their first teacher in the lesson of resilience! We hope the above tips helped you in some way or the other in getting started on your very rewarding journey of raising resilient kids!
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