When faced with a challenging situation, what attitude does your child possess?
Do they dive headfirst into the challenge, confident that they have the skill set to come up with a solution to their problem? Or does anxiety take over and they wait for an all-knowing adult to provide an answer?
We all know that being a responsible adult is not exactly a piece of cake. So, what can we do for our children to help them grow up resilient, or able to handle the challenges that are tossed their way with a can-do attitude?
Tips to Help Build Resilience in Kids
Do not accommodate every desire.
Case in point…a child comes to you complaining to you of “boredom.” It is okay to let the child mull in the boredom. Doing so will help them become more creative and find new things to do.
Another example…a child perfectly capable of heating up leftovers or pouring their own bowl of cereal expresses hunger. Provided your child is not a toddler, it is perfectly acceptable to point them to the kitchen where the milk and cereal is in the morning.
Teach your children the concrete skills they will need to overcome certain challenges.
For example, a child that has a fear of public speaking should not be allowed to avoid it at all costs. Instead, brainstorm solutions to overcome the fear and have the child practice with family and small groups of friends until he or she is more comfortable.
Do not provide all the answers for your child.
For example, if your child asks if he or she will be getting a shot at a doctor’s appointment, rather than saying “yes” or “no,” it is okay to respond with, “I don’t know. How could we handle that if the doctor thinks you need a shot?” This will help your child switch gears from reactive thinking into problem-solving mode.
Let your children fail from time to time.
Gasp…I know. As a mom, I struggle with this one too! However, would I rather my child learn responsibility by dealing with the consequences of not finishing homework on time in fourth grade, or by dealing with the consequences of what happens if you don’t pay your bills on time as an adult. Use childhood as the time to let children make mistakes safely when risk is still relatively low.
Model and develop emotional resiliency in yourself and your child.
Our children are learning how to handle setbacks by watching how we respond. If we handle our frustration by lashing out at others, that is how our children will learn to react. If we model talking through our frustrations and using healthy ways to cope with stress, that will, likewise, be imprinted on our young. Choose wisely what you model.
Our ultimate goal as parents is to raise children that will be happy, healthy, and successful in whatever they choose to do in life. Building a resilient mindset will enable our children to learn to work through the problems that come their way, rather than becoming overly stressed and frustrated. The work of building resiliency must begin when our children are very young in order to see the benefits when they are older.
Other Helpful Articles
If you found this article helpful, you might find our other articles on mental health and parenting to be helpful too!
- Teaching Your Kids to Recognize Signs of Stress: 5 Practical Tips
- The Long-Term Effects of Stress on Your Family…What Can You Do About It?
- Dealing with Stressful Moments: 5 De-Escalation Techniques for Avoiding the Meltdown
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About the Author: Brandy Browne
Brandy Browne is an early childhood educator in the United States, as well as a family coach and blogger for UnStuck (www.unstucks.com), her family coaching service aimed at helping families develop positive habits and breaking the cycle of generational trauma and poverty.
Her education is in early and elementary education, and she also has a masters degree in parenting and child/adolescent development. Brandy is a wife to her high school sweetheart of fifteen years, and together they share three children, aged ten, seven, and five. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, writing, and distance running.