Resilience is one of those traits that doesn’t always come naturally for kids but is absolutely crucial to their emotional development. Being able to cope with and bounce back from difficult circumstances will allow them to try new things, be independent, and recover from the harsh blows that life will inevitably deal them. Here are some strategies parents can implement to help teach resilience:
Don’t Accommodate Every Want
We love our children, and it’s natural to want to “give them the world,” but you can’t give everything (nor can you fix everything)! Allow them the opportunity to advocate for themselves and to be assertive. It will be hard for them to learn to cope when they have everything they need or want.
Let Your Kids Experience Making Mistakes
The reality is that kids are going to mess up, and you won’t always be there to prevent them from making bad choices. Work with your spouse to determine what mistakes your child will not be allowed to make (drugs, promiscuity, violence, extravagant debt, etc.), but then step back and permit them to the freedom to mess up sometimes; it’s one of the best ways for them to learn!
Allow For (Some) Anxiety
One of the hardest things for parents to do is watch their children suffering. We hate to see them in pain, and when we see them hurting, we want to make it all better for them. However, there is wisdom in allowing them to experience their own anxiety a bit; don’t just jump in and give them the answers to their worries all the time, but let them foster problem-solving abilities on their own.
And finally, show your children what it means to be resilient through your own behavior. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to own up and apologize when you yourself make mistakes. Other ways you can model resilience include finding healthy outlets for difficult emotional experiences (like exercise), boosting your own confidence in moments of insecurity, and adapting well to change.
How have YOU taught your kids to be resilient?