Solutions For Parents

 

Promoting Resiliency in Children

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We’ve all heard the term “Helicopter Parents” but have you ever thought how this parenting style is affecting an entire generation of children?  All that hovering is robbing our children from developing critical skills we all need as adults.  The ability to deal with failure, problem-solving skills, risk-taking; these are all traits that we need as productive members of society.  Allowing resilience to develop naturally and slowly over time is a gift all parents can give to their children starting as young as two years old.   All too often, parents try to protect their children from failure, disappointment and getting hurt.  The unintended consequence is children that lack resiliency.  Here are some things you can do to promote resiliency.

  • Decision-making – Allow children to make decisions.   Even very young children can make decisions and this skill will build a child’s confidence.  They should learn early on that decisions have consequences.  Some are good and some are bad, and that’s ok.
  • Problem Solving – Like decision-making, this skill is gained overtime and it requires practice.  A child’s confidence can be adversely affected if he does not improve problem-solving skills as he develops.  Do not jump in too quickly to solve a problem, let him try several times to solve something before you offer assistance.
  • Adversity – Be cautious of shielding your child from adversity.  A child that is constantly shielded from life events such as natural disasters, illness, death or divorce will find it harder to cope with such events later in life.  Instead, support your child through these events and encourage communication to help them deal with their feelings.
  • Failure – Failure is a very real part of adulthood, however, people who have been shielded from this throughout their childhood have a more difficult time dealing with disappointment or setbacks.  A child can learn how to cope from small disappoints and failures throughout there childhood.   Parents have to resist the urge to rescue their child from these “character building” experiences.
  • Overindulging – It is hardly realistic for a child to get everything they want.   There is a lot to be learned from “earning” a privilege or a material item that a child desires.  You are giving your child a sense of accomplishment when he/she has the opportunity to earn something and that is a skill they need to build on as they go through adolescence and into adulthood.
  • Developing a talent – A large part of resiliency revolves around a person’s confidence and self worth.  By developing one or more skill sets that a child is good at can go along way in this area.  It promotes problem solving, teamwork, empathy, the ability to deal with failure and hard work. Whether it is academic, sports or the arts; an activity that a child is connected with builds key components of resiliency.
  • Praise – At one time or another, we are all guilty of over praising our children.  We probably bought into the idea that “lack of praise = low self-esteem”.  In actuality, meaningful praise, less often, would be more affective and build a deeper respect for a child’s true accomplishments.

We all want the best for our children and one way to achieve that is to give them the skills they need to be independent, resilient young adults.   A child that has developed resiliency over time  is less likely to give up in challenging situations or setbacks.  They believe they are in control of their own destiny therefore they will grow up to be risk takers and problem solvers and productive members of society.

Ask Dr. Susan