School life presents children with endless challenges, setbacks, failures and difficulties. A resilient child will be able to withstand the pressures of school much more readily than a child who is not resilient.
Resilience is described as being able to bounce back from setbacks, difficulties and challenges. It also includes being able to deal with pressure in an effective manner and get through difficult times with a positive outcome.
Parents play an important role in developing resilience in their children. The following are tips to help you raise effective kids.
Listening
Listening to your child is one of the most important ways that parents can help build resilience.  Listening lets your child know that have your undivided attention, makes them feel worthy and when a child is upset listening provides emotional healing.
Have empathy
 Imagine you had a tough day where some of your plans failed. And when you tried to speak to a partner or loved one, the only response you received was, “Oh well, just try harder tomorrow”.  While this may be true, it most certainly won’t help you feel any better.  If you don’t feel better, you’re not going to bounce back.
This is also true of giving advice when your child is upset, telling them simply to “cheer up, you’ll be fine” only serves to undermine their feelings and lets them know that they aren’t normal inside.
The best way to respond is to acknowledge they have had a tough day and don’t give advice or lectures. “I can see you have had a really hard day” or “You must have been so disappointed.”
When you have let them know that you understand and support them, ask them how you can help them.  Let them brainstorm the most effective way to overcome challenges or obstacles and then offer support and guidance.
Accept your children for who they are
Your child is more likely to be resilient if she feels accepted for who she is. In order to accept your child for who they are, it is important to resist temptation to judge and criticise. Continually finding fault and constant criticism is almost certainly going to raise questions about self-worth in children. In contrast to this, a child whose parents constantly affirm their efforts will useful, validated and acceptable.  They are also likely to work hard to maintain these positive feelings, which means when they come across setbacks they have the confidence to try again. Letting your child know why you’re proud of them or why you love them also boosts resilience.  Be specific, “I’m so proud of you for the way you tried at dance class today, you found it hard at first but you really got there in the end” General statements like “You’re such a good girl” are meaningless and can be taken back at any time, offering a definite statement is much more meaningful.
Develop your child’s strengths
One of the best ways to promote resilience is to foster a belief in your child that she is capable and has the ability to complete difficult challenges. Parents who recognise their child’s strengths and help them to develop these will be rewarded by seeing their child blossom and become increasingly competent. Their child will be successful, inspired and confident.
Your child’s strengths may lie in relationships, music, creativity, sports, academics or any number of areas. Developing these strengths will promote resilience in your child.
Let your child know that mistakes are an opportunity to learn
When your child makes a mistake what does he do? Does he throw his hands in the air and say it’s too hard? Or does he see it as an opportunity to learn something new and try again?
Your child needs to be taught that mistakes and setbacks are opportunities to learn. By teaching your child that continued effort and practice are the keys to success, mistakes and setbacks will no longer be viewed as a failure. This is also more likely to cause your child to have a more positive outlook on life which is also linked to resilience.
 
Make your child responsible by giving them responsibilities
It’s a common phrase said by parents, “I want my child to be responsible but I can’t trust her to do anything I ask.” Parents don’t give responsibilities to their irresponsible children out of fear they will fail at the task.  However, responsibility is learned through actions and in doing things for others. By giving your child responsibility they will in turn become more responsible.
 
Teach your child to make his own decisions
When a parent sees a child struggling, it’s only natural to want to tell them how to fix their problems. However, always making decisions for children can serve to undermine their decision making skills and confidence.
Instead, when your child is faced with a problem, listen, empathise and ask the question “What do you think you should do?”
Make sure your child knows that you are willing to offer help and support but then ask him to make a decision. If it’s a poor decision, offer gentle guidance and be supportive. As your child considers various possibilities, he will gain confidence in his own decision making abilities.
 
Discipline but never disparage
Children (and adults) will make a lot of mistakes, even when they are trying their hardest. When our children do things that are wrong, we should focus on teaching them rather than punishing them. Often the best way to teach effectively is to ask our child to think about what he has learned from a particular mistake.  It’s a good idea to then ask them to make decisions about how best to resolve a situation, e.g. apologising and never doing what they have done again.
 
 A resilient child will be more successful and happy than a child who is not resilient. Using the above tips will help to create children who:
  • Feel appreciated and special
  • Learn to set achievable goals
  • Have realistic expectations of themselves
  • Others will believe that they can solve problems and make good decisions
  • See failure and weakness as a chance to learn and do things better
  • Recognise, develop and enjoy their strengths and talents
  • Believe in their ability
  • Have good interpersonal skills
  • Always bounce back from situations life throws at them!
 
 
 

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