Follow these tips, and equip your children with the key skills they’ll need for life
As mums, our instinct is to protect our children. We can’t bear the idea of them being bullied at school, giving into peer pressure or suffering rejection, and want to put as many measures in place as possible to keep them safe.
But in a world changing as quickly as ours, perhaps the real key to protecting our children is not to hide the world from them, but to equip them with one of the key tools they’ll need to face it — resilience.
Here, Melissa Hood, founder of parenting website, The Parent Practice, shares her tips for raising resilient kids.
Melissa says: ‘Involving your child in problem-solving reminds them that they have the resources to resolve tricky situations themselves.
‘If they leave their school bag on the bus, for example, instead of saying: “Why did you do that?” ask: “How do you think we might be able to get your bag back?”
‘Or if they’re having difficulties with another child at school, brainstorm ideas about how to resolve the conflict.
‘For example, if a child tells your son that his haircut looks silly, you and your son might decide that next time he could shrug, and say: ‘Oh, do you think so?’ — stemming the bully’s efforts to hurt him.
‘If you’ve rehearsed a strategy that your child has helped devise, it reassures them that they have the tools to cope, and they’re much more likely to successfully use it.’
Model positive behaviours
Melissa says: ‘We want our kids to be able to pick themselves up and try again after setbacks, so it’s important that we show them that mistakes are OK.
‘If you get a parking ticket and say: “I’m an idiot, I’m so cross with myself”, you give the idea that mistakes are to be avoided.
‘Instead, say: “That didn’t go well, did it? Next time I’ll have to put more money on the meter.”
‘That way, you’re teaching your child that mistakes are opportunities to learn.’
Build feelings of competency
Melissa says: ‘We want to help our children, but if we do too much for them they can develop a sense of helplessness, and become risk-averse and anxious.
‘In comparison, giving your children responsibilities, or jobs around the home, can help them to develop skills and confidence.
‘It shows them that we trust them to contribute, which helps them to have a strong sense of self belief.’
Applaud effort and strategy
It’s important for your child to know that they can get through things that they find difficult.
Melissa says: ‘By commenting on the effort your child is putting into something, and not just their talent, you are encouraging them to persevere regardless of the outcome, and to take safe, considered risks.
‘If they fail, but have another go, praise them for picking themselves up and trying again.’
Work through emotions
It can be tempting to not ask your child too many questions about an incident that’s made them sad, for fear of upsetting them further.
But Melissa says: ‘It’s helpful to work through the emotional side of problems, before trying to resolve them.
‘For example, if your child was left out of a game by friends, instead of saying: “Oh, just ignore them,” say: “That must have really hurt your feelings.”
‘Giving a voice to your child’s feelings helps them to work through their problems much more effectively.’
Let your kids make mistakes
Melissa says: ‘It’s important to let our children make mistakes.
‘For example, if they don’t want to do their homework one night, because they’d rather do something else, let them experience the consequences of their actions, and learn from that.
‘Slip-ups allow us to make better decisions next time.’
Edited by Stephanie May
For more information, visit theparentpractice.com