Inside: Do you want to help build your child’s resilience to adversity and help them confront uncertainty? Check out 10 strategies for building resilience in kids (a guide for parents).
How does a child develop resilience? How does a child confront uncertainty?
We often think about these questions. Most of us have fears about raising children. As parents, we want our children to grow up to become happy, prosperous, and resilient adults who deal with the countless challenges of life.
Here are 10 Strategies for Building Resilience in Kids (A Guide for Parents):
1. Start Young
It is essential to begin teaching children the skills of resilience and coping immediately after traumatic events in their life. The earlier you start, the better prepared your children will be to deal with the twists and turns of their lives later on.
Children are more vulnerable when they’re young and have less control over the circumstances of their lives. You can help them develop a sense of mastery, setting the tone for their later adult life, so they have the ability to bounce back quickly after a struggle.
Your behavior is a model for your children. They learn from what you do, not from what you say because our actions always speak louder than words.
2. Practice Problem-solving
If there is a challenging situation, we should talk to our children and help them solve the problem. Encourage your child to share openly about how they feel as this can provide clarity and relieve stress.
It is not your job to protect them from frustration, but it is important to show them how to calmly work through problems. Be sure to set examples on how they can manage their emotions productively as this will help them handle frustration later in life.
3. Support Honesty
When a person has high integrity, self-confidence, courage, character, and an ability to be selective in his thoughts, feelings, and actions, he/she attains resilience. For children to have resilience, they need parents who provide strategies for building resilience like establishing expectations for the child and holding the child accountable when he breaks the rules.
It may be hard to admit, but many parents bend the truth for the sake of sparing their children from pain. But, young children need facts to make sense of things, even if those facts are unpleasant. Parents should answer questions honestly and explain why not all questions have answers.
4. Be Optimistic
It is important to see the world as it is but never lose hope. Life isn’t always fair, and there are many setbacks, but hope and resilience make it possible to come back from defeat and rise above hardship.
Parents often ask me how they can teach their children to be optimistic. Children need to have a positive outlook on life and see the glass as half full instead of half empty.
5. Give A Sense of Control
6. Encourage Their Strengths
Children can achieve great things if they know what makes them special and don’t waste time on things that may not work out in the end. Help your child see his or her strengths, unique traits, skills, abilities, and talents and use them in everyday life. This will help them become confident people who know that they can achieve their dreams.
Sharing responsibility with your children at an early age will make them feel trusted and comfortable in difficult situations and important and necessary during good times.
Encourage them to study their strengths, and they will feel more confident when facing challenges. Coming up with solutions to solve a problem is easier when you know your abilities, natural talents, and strengths.
7. Be Patient
Be patient with your children and give them time to deal with the change instead of acting hastily. Help them develop patience, perseverance, and problem-solving skills, so they will be able to face whatever life throws at them.
Be firm but fair. Children need to know that the world is safe and rules must be followed. When they learn to accept the rules, do not push the limits, it can help keep them safe.
One of the best strategies for building resilience is respecting a child’s capacity for change. Children need to understand that every child has a different rate at which he or she can learn and grow.
8. Never Make Excuses for Bad Behavior
Don’t look the other way if your child is doing something acceptable just because you don’t want to admit that it may stem from an aspect of your parenting.
For example, if your child gets in trouble at school, refrain from automatically assuming that it wasn’t their fault. Your child will inevitably make bad decisions from time to time. It’s important for to you talk with them when these situations arise and work together to find solutions.
9. Make It A Joint Effort
There’s much that you can do together with your child. Talk about the goals and values you want to instill in him or her. Plan out the time they’ll spend together, try to make those times special and fun together. You could also have special “dates” where the family might go out for dinner or see a show.
Parents need to talk to children about seemingly uncomfortable topics like sexuality, drugs, and alcohol. These are all part of growing up, but some kids may not feel comfortable bringing up the subject themselves. However, if something does come up, you must listen to your child and be honest with them.
10. Inspire Them
Inspiration can bring a surge of energy, motivation, and courage when everything seems bleak. Be sure to read stories to inspire your children by such authors as Robin Sharma and Steve Servan-Schreiber, or tell them your own favorite stories about great people like Malcolm Gladwell, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, or Stephen Hawking.
Stories can also help your children realize that they’re not alone. Teenagers especially need to know that they’re not the only ones struggling with life’s challenges. Read about the challenges other teenagers have overcome and how they succeeded.
Final Thoughts on 10 Strategies for Building Resilience in Kids (A Guide for Parents)
This list of strategies for building resilience in kids will help teach them how to overcome adversity when things get difficult. At times, they might feel like life is unfair, but these strategies will show them how to confront uncertainty.
In addition, it’s important to explain the power of their mind and how they can change things by changing their thoughts. Sometimes even a very small shift in perspective can make a great deal of difference in our lives.
Be transparent and tell your children about how you overcame difficult challenges in your life. Let them know that you did it by making a conscious choice to focus on the positive things in your life, like the wonderful people around you and other blessings. Tell them about how you chose to see a challenge as a chance to learn instead of an obstacle that blocked your way and how that changed your attitude towards it.
Life isn’t always rosy, but it is always full of opportunities for growth and learning.
Are there any strategies for building resilience that you would add to this list? Tell me in the comments below!
I'm Andrea Gibbs Born, raised, and still living in New York. I'm a work-at-home mom with a background in business development, strategy, and social media marketing. I'm a blog contributor at Montessori Academy to motivate and educate other parents about how they can get their children ahead of the game in school.