Resilience – why do we need it?
When we think about what we want for our child, our thoughts are usually – success, happiness, wealth…..but have you ever thought about resilience?? To have the ability to get knocked down, dust themselves off and get back up again without the world falling apart in the process. Or to be able to overcome obstacles, deal with stress, and perhaps doing so with a smile?
I’m sure as adults, you are fully aware of those of you who are resilient and those of you who are not. Why is it that some people seem to sail through life, whilst others are left crying in the corner? It all comes down to resilience.
Some of us are biologically blessed to be wired for resilience, and for those who aren’t , fret not, it can be taught! Teaching and encouraging our children to be resilient is one of the greatest life tools you can give them.
Teaching them resilience will lay the foundation for them to an ensure a happy life. They will be able to view each knockback, pitfall and hurdle is an opportunity for them to learn and grow.
So, how do we help our children?
Learning resilience can be taught through the smallest of changes and can determine whether our children will become a resilient adult.
Be a mirror.
As parents, we are (and sometimes forget!) we are our child’s biggest influencers. Did you know that your wellbeing has a BIG impact on your child’s wellbeing?
Children inevitably pick up our habits and mannerism. They absorb how their parents display and handle their emotions, interact with other people and cope with stress and they imitate.
What is your child learning from you? When we can practice these resilient tips, you will naturally be encouraging your child to do the same.
It begins with mindset –
When you shift into a positive mindset, resilience will be on autopilot. To be able to always look for that silver lining through every bad or difficult situation you maybe experiencing. In the knowing that whatever it is, can fixed, overcome or tried again. With a positive attitude. Your child will learn to problem solves and know to fail does not make them a failure, but gives them an opportunity to try again and succeed.
A positive mindset can be practised through the use of affirmations. Turn each negative thought, into a positive statement. Instead of: ‘I’m a failure’ or the common phrase ‘ we don’t have enough money’, try reversing it into ‘I am successful, or ‘there is always plenty, an abundance surrounds me’.
If you feel like it takes more than a statement to keep their optimisms high, the attitude of gratitude often helps. Being thankful for what you DO have, can quickly change that grumpy mood into a positive, uplifting one. I practise this with my children, it usually starts with ‘what was your favourite part of the day’.
Connection and relationships: How does your child see you treat others? Respectfully, kindly or authentically? Do you treat your child with the same respect? Children who feel positively connected and supported by others will have stronger resilience to those who don’t. To help improve that positive connection, next time your child makes a mistake, take a non- judgmental, patient and understanding stance. Be sure to empathize, (perhaps count to 10!) and look at it from their point of view before reacting. It will help build trust and communication with your child.
Choices and skill building: The resilience is built on self-efficacy and perceived control. Are you someone who relies heavily on others, or are you Miss Independent? Teaching your child independence and learning through choice will improve their resilience. What they want to wear, offer them sensible guidance but allowing them choice on what to wear, offering couple of choices breakfast and dinner, put their clothes in the washing basket and laying table and age appropriate chores.
Positive experience with positive stress. You may not link stress with the word positive but if you can expose yourself to small bouts of ‘positive stress’ such as a planning a holiday, falling in love, or a hard session at the gym. Children who experience small stresses such as a spelling test, nervousness before a school play or a sporting event can actually build their resilience to cope with the larger stressors of life.
These small practices will help you create a resilient parent and child, which in turn will lead to calmer, happier family.
The Calm Child.