How to Raise a Resilient Child
In a world where stress is ubiquitous, it is right to teach and train our children resilience even at a young age. While it is our obligation as parents to protect our child and shield them from harm, it is crucial that the children learn to cope with stress even at a young age. Resilience is the capacity to recover from stress, adversity, challenge, or even trauma. It is not something that individuals do not possess because it is a skill that develops as an individual grows.
When your child is resilient, they are not afraid to take healthy risks because they do not fear failure and know that they can stand up and try again. They are curious, risk takers and usually trust their instincts. They know their limitations but they try to push their limit and not just dwell in their comfort zones. This characteristic helps them attain their long-term goals and develop problem-solving activity.
As parents, we have the tendency to be overprotective to our children. We make sure that they do not experience any harm and pain. We give them the best nutrition to nourish their bodies and imbue them love to nurture them as they grow. However, love is not only limited to just giving them shelter, food and clothing. It is the parents’ responsibility to develop skills like self-help skills, enhance social skills, grit, and resilience. These skills will be engraved in their minds and hearts and they will grow into more independent individuals when they grow up.
When children start going to school or daycare, that is the time they start dealing with different emotional pains, challenges and traumas. They will start meeting people other than their parents, relatives and caregivers. They will meet children that have different characters that they may like or dislike. Their capability to thrive amidst these challenges is results of being resilient. That is why it is essential to help our children develop this skill. Resilient people are able to recover faster and heal from traumatic life experiences and may even emerge as successful and unscathed from their challenges.
There are 3 main factors that help build resilience and those are family factors, individual factors and community factors. A child must be raised in an environment where good parenting is valued, low family stress; no bad vices like drugs, smoking and drinking and close bonding. Individual factors that help children grow to be resilient are self-confident, ambitious, higher IQ, possess empathy, sense of humor and physically fit. On the other hand, community factors that help develop resilience are having supportive extended family, safe neighborhood, positive school experiences, close community and extracurricular experiences.
So how can we teach resilience as parents?
Teach your child this skill. Do not always help them with their task and let them figure out what to do. If they fight with a friend or a sibling over a toy, let them handle it and teach them how to use their words in solving the problem as opposed to just whining or complaining all the time. Buy them toys that can help them with critical thinking skills.
Sticking to a routine can help children become comfortable in doing their task and therefore develop their self-confidence. However, you also need to teach your child that sometimes there are moments when they need to deal with something that is not in their routine and they need to deal with it without stressing too much.
Build Strong Emotional Connection
Make sure to spend quality time with your child and create strong bond. Children are able to form coping skills from the care and affection they get from their parents. When children know and feel that they are able to get support from their parents and caregivers, they are empowered to take more risk and become stronger individuals. Showing positive connection give adults the opportunity to model coping and problem solving skills to children.
Be a Role Model
Do not show your child that you easily get frustrated over small things. Model your patience to your child. When they see that their parents are patient and persistent, they will do the same. Always show a positive insight even in difficult times.
Children needs to learn that they need to finish their task no matter how small it is. It is also like discipline to them. Celebrate accomplished goals with your family so they will learn the importance of accomplishing their goals.
Being resilient does not mean that your children will no longer experience harm, pain, discrimination, failures and other challenges. However, if you raise a resilient child successfully, they will be able to surpass whatever endeavor comes their way. They will be able to spread their wings fully when they grow up and attain success in life.
Writer: Hazel May Vinluan-Kim