15 Tips for Raising Resilient Children
Resilience is defined as “the ability to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens.” [Merriam Webster] Some people seem to naturally bounce back after a tragedy or trauma while others find the same situation emotionally devastating and have a hard time functioning. While having resiliency won’t stop bad things from happening in your child’s life, it will make them more prepared to deal with adversity and come away stronger. There are ways you can nurture resilience in your children. The following tips should help.
Avoid solving your children’s problems. Instead, coach your child through problem-solving and have him or her come up with the solution. As parents, you might want to shield your child from any adversity, but, this can leave him without the ability to deal with adversity when you aren’t around. Instead, allow your child to hear about and experience difficulties and then help him understand that he can’t solve every problem but he can learn to accept.
Step back from doing everything for your child. In today’s world, parents are often overprotective and jump at the opportunity to do things for their child. Instead, step back and let your child do whatever they are capable of.
Allow your child to make mistakes. Failures help a child grow in maturity and resilience. If your child didn’t study for a test, let him do poorly on the exam and accept the consequences. Teach your child that mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.
Allow your child to make his or her own decisions. Start when young by allowing them to choose the clothes to wear for the day or what to have for lunch. As your child matures, increase the decisions he or she makes. When frustrated, talk with your child about the pros and cons of each choice and then let him decide what is best.
Role model resiliency. Keep a positive attitude toward problems that come up in your life. Explain that problems are part of everyday life and can be opportunities to learn and grow.
Share stories of how you problem solved in the past. Let your child hear about your successes and failures when you faced adversity. Talk about what you learned from the situation and how it helped you grow.
Encourage strong relationships with other adults. Children benefit from having relationships with adults who are not their parents. This could be a favorite aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a neighbor, a teacher or coach, or a family friend. Learning from different role models helps your child develop a wide variety of problem solving skills.
Have your child participate in solving family problems. Based on your child’s age, share specific problems, such as where to go for vacation that would have activities for all family members.
Develop your child’s strengths, talents and interests. Every child is good at something. Look for where your child’s talents lie and offer opportunities for him to develop these skills. This helps develop competency and confidence.
Make sure your child feels safe and secure. Let your child know daily that you love him and are there to care for him. Children make better decisions and cope with chaos better when they feel safe and secure.
Encourage being involved. Being part of something larger, such as volunteering in the community, participating in sports or clubs helps to develop confidence and gives your child an opportunity to see himself as a valuable member of his community.
Give your child chores around the house. Use age-appropriate chores to help boost your child’s confidence in his abilities. Completing chores can help your child feel competent.
Be empathetic when your child is struggling. Everyone needs someone to listen to them, without giving advice or lecturing. When your child comes to you with a problem, listen and be reassuring without telling him what to do.
Tell your child he did a good job - when he did. Some parents try to build their children by giving praise, even when it isn’t deserved. Praise your child at every opportunity, but only if it is sincere and well deserved.
Teach your child it is okay to ask for help when needed. While you want your child to develop independence, you also want her to know that you are there when needed.
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