Resilience in Children
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 setback or disappointment. Rejection in the playground 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 children.
Resilient children share four basic skill sets- independence, problem-solving, optimism and social connection.
From a resilience perspective, parents need to coach children through some of their more challenging moments and reviewing 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 children 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 they meets some of life’s curve balls.
- Look for teachable moments. Many child focussed learning opportunities are disguised as problems. Make the most of these opportunities so that children can grow and learn from some of the challenges they face.
- Make children active participants in the family. Active participation in a family develops the self-help, problem-solving and independence skills of children that are necessary for resilience.
- Build your child’s coping skills. There are plenty of strategies you can pass on to children to help them cope when life doesn’t go their way, including acceptance, getting away for a while, and normalisation.
- Promoting resilience in children 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.
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