Resiliency is what we have needed to survive and thrive in the adult world. Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, and the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity. When you look around at people you know, you may have noticed that adults who have very little resiliency often don’t handle life’s knocks well at all. They often react in one or more of the following ways when they meet hard times. They don’t experience difficulties as learning opportunities or as something they can weather and recover from, they blame others and situations for choices they have made, and they often need a lot of support from others. We all know people who to some degree are unable, or have become unable, to completely stand on their own two feet and make their way in the world. Some of them may continue to create worry and chaos around them and cause pain to others throughout their lives.
We don’t want our children to be adults who have very little resiliency. We want our children to bounce back from difficult situations and to be able to adapt to new circumstances. In their future, which will be very different from our time as young adults as ours has been from our parents’ time, resilience will continue to be one of the main characteristics defining who thrives in a changing world and who doesn’t.
How are you developing resilience in your children?
Everyone does it differently, but there is always more that we can do. Often we view our children as people who are a little fragile, need lots of protection, and can’t cope without our support. Perhaps there are good and valid reasons for having these opinions. However believing our children are weak and fragile creatures will not help them grow up into resilient children. The most important thing we can change is to strongly believe that our children can develop resilience, and are in fact already more resilient than we might realise.
Before our children can believe in themselves, we have to believe in them.
We need to change how we think about our children because actually when we are completely honest with ourselves, this is a very disrespectful way to think about them, and absolutely does not encourage them to grow resilience. When we change how we view our children we give them the chance to change. For example we could decide to view them as children who are capable of change. Children who can learn faster than we believed, are more resilient than we realised, and are better problem-solvers than we thought.
- Sometimes we protect our children so much that they seldom get to learn from their mistakes. Give them many opportunities to take manageable risks so they can begin to learn from their own mistakes.
- Often our children’s time today is overly planned so that they have little down-time, where they are left to their own devices to play alone, read, do nothing, or dream. Quiet, unplanned time where they are not entertained and have to entertain themselves is respite from their busy world and gives them a chance to recharge, even if they feel bored and complain at first, they will adapt if you back off and let them sort themselves
- These days children are often socialising and playing on devices, and not out running around and expending energy. Exercise helps us all let go of stresses so that we can continue to handle the challenges in our lives. You can make sure that they are exercising their bodies regularly by limiting social media each day, and creating situations where they are exercising most days.
- If our children are afraid to take risks, often crumble when there are difficulties, and won’t attempt anything that isn’t relatively easy for them to do, they don’t develop resilience. You can help them by showing them how to change difficulties into opportunities. For example, you can show them how to use a negative or sad situation to be grateful for what you have already, or where you learn from what you have done wrong.
- Homework, or regular practice of what is taught in the classroom is useful to develop their resilience at school. If they don’t easily recall basic information such as tables, addition and subtraction facts, and basic spelling and reading rules and words, the more complex tasks cause undue stress.
The good news is that there is good information on the net on how resilience to a large extent can be learnt. As parents, it is our job to help our children learn the skills necessary to develop resilience. Every year your children grow older provides new opportunities for you to help them grow into the adults you know they have the potential to be.
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