Can we be doing more to be buliding resilience in our children? I have incredibly strong kids. They are strong in so many ways, but can we be doing more? Both my kids will speak their mind, say no and speak what they feel, but when it comes to recovering from a situation that has upset them or dealing with a situation they are not happy with is not something that comes easily. They are not resilient and I realise that I need to teach them that is okay to not be strong or when you speak what you feel it is okay if people disagree. I also appreciate I need to teach them that it is okay to be wrong. I am a firm believer in my children seeing that I am not perfect, far from it. I want them to see I have faults and that I don’t get it right all the time. I think this is crucial and at the moment neither of my children like being wrong or failing.
It is important for them to learn that no one is perfect. When we fail, we can learn. We can do better.
We are always learning and growing.
I have dealt with my own feelings of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, so I want them to be able to cope with stress and outside forces that will impact their life at some point. I want them to understand that being sad is part of life and it is okay to feel this. These emotions are also just as important as the happy ones.
So how do we go about building resilience in our kids? With both children growing up and being influenced by friends and outside forces now I feel it is critical that I start looking at effective ways to build their confidence and help them work through ways of managing failure or when situations don’t go their way. These are some of the tips I have researched for children around their age bracket as this will vary depending on their age:
- Talking and communicating. Each night at the dinner table we discuss one thing that was great about our day and one thing that we didn’t like. I feel it is important that the children are okay with not everything going well and when that does happen we can talk about how it makes us feel and perhaps how we can change it or accept it and move forward. Some days the things they didn’t like was just doing maths or they couldn’t play in the sandpit but as they grow there will be more serious things that happen in the schoolyard or with their friends and I hope they will continue to feel they can share and discuss it with us.
- Effective Problem Solving. When things do go wrong, not always but sometimes there are ways to solve the issues. By remaining positive with our kids and creating a discussion on ways that we could change the situation or make it better is really helpful. We have sat down with our son and made bullet points of ways that we can make something better or ways to deal with certain situations. We always try to come up with 3 good points and then we always have a silly or funny point to create a positive and happy environment. A few months back my son had someone who wasn’t being very nice to him. We created 3 points of what he could do in future times this happens and then we had one funny one which he came up with which was fly around him in a spaceship until he got really dizzy and fell over. We had a good laugh and then focused back on our bullet points.
- Trying to be a good role model. Our children watch us more than we realise and it is important that they see us and how we handle stress, emotional experiences, and hard situations. After we recently moved I suffered from anxiety and a great sense of being overwhelmed. Some days it was incredibly hard to hide this from the children and on those days I just tried to explain as best I could about why I was feeling like that and how my behaviour was being affected because of it. On the other days I try to show the children that if we are hit with a problem or a situation we don’t like or something that upsets us, I want them to see that we handle it and we move forward as best we can.
- Support and a Solid Network. Children who have a solid base of people around them are more likely to have confidence and be socially and emotionally equipped. A strong network including family, friends, and school plays a huge role in our children lives including a consistence routine, other role models and building our children emotionally and mentally. With this solid network around them and being confident in that network can mean that they will more likely adapt and adjust when things are not going well.
- Don’t overdo it. In today’s’ world we try to fit everything in. We want our children to be the best at everything and often we can cram too much into their routine. A solid routine is very important but it can also be harmful to overdo things and give them too much to take on. School alone uses up so much of their brain on a day-to-day basis that having too many other activities or expectations on them can end up backfiring. Putting too much pressure on them can end up leading to more anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed and we do want them to feel that they can cope with the pace that is life. It is important that we set a good and steady pace.
It is so important that our children understand that stress and let downs do happen and can happen often. It is important that they know that we love them and always will and we will always be there for them. Every situation is different and will always need a different way to be dealt with but by showing them and helping them develop ways to deal with their feelings and emotions then we can try to build up their resilience as much as possible.