4 Ways to Raise Resilient Kids
Your child’s resilience leads to better health, greater happiness, and deeper connections. Despite the challenges that life gives them.
Life comes with challenges. And whether they are big or small, we want our kids to be resilient enough to overcome them.
Fortunately, as researcher Anne S. Masten points out, “resilience emerges from ordinary processes.” In other words, you don’t need some crazy formula or routine to raise resilient children. You start by helping your children develop these four key beliefs.
1. They Have Control Over Their Lives
Children who feel they have some control over their life are more resilient. They believe they have the power to shape their lives. Resilient children feel like masters of their own fate.
As their parent, you can teach your child this view of themselves. You can also deepen their sense of control by providing them structure and predictability. Especially during turbulent times.
You create predictability and structure for your children when you set specific rules and boundaries for them. When your caregiving, like providing meals and shelter, is constant. When you establish and stick to their daily routines. When you give them a space that is entirely theirs and they are responsible for (ie: their room, their bed, their desk, a cubby, etc.). And most importantly, when you consistently show love and affection towards them, even when they make mistakes.
2. Their Efforts Improve Their Skills
When children believe they can grow and learn from failure, they are more resilient. Having a growth mindset will help your child face adversity.
Coined by Carol Dweck, individuals with a growth mindset believe they can change and grow. They know they can improve their skills and talents through their efforts, application, and experience. They don’t let challenges and failures stop them. Resilient children believe they are not limited to whatever comes naturally to them.
Help your child develop a growth mindset. When setbacks come their way, remind them that they can keep trying and keep getting better.
Give your children growth mindset praise like, “I’m so proud that you never gave up,” or “You were so brave for trying.” This reminds them that their efforts contribute to the results they want and they are not limited by their natural talent.
Share inspiring stories of yourself and others who kept going when faced with challenges. One example includes Michael Jordan. He was cut from the varsity basketball team while in high school. But he worked to become one of the greatest players in the NBA. Another great example is Malala Yousafzai. Who, as a young girl in Pakistan, was attacked for pursuing an education. She miraculously recovered and is now a human rights advocate. She especially focuses on education for girls.
3. They Matter
Children who feel they matter are more resilient in the face of adversity. This requires having others notice them, care about them, and rely on them. Children who don’t feel like they matter are more likely to have low self-esteem, experience depression, and have suicidal thoughts.
Asking for help is one way your child shows that they feel mattered. They know that someone cares enough about them to respond to their needs.
To help your child feel that they matter, listen to them more. Ask them questions about their feelings and thoughts. And find ways they can contribute to the family.
If you need more help in this area, read my article that explains Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages of Children.
4. They Have Unique Strengths
Resilient children can rely on and share their unique strengths with others. Knowing their strengths helps them channel their energy into something positive. It can also lead them to healthy outlets when adversity strikes.
Help your child find their strengths by giving them opportunities to explore their interests. Point out when they have done things well, like being brave, helping others, or never giving up. Focusing on your child’s strengths helps fight low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness.
Conclusion: Resilience Has Long Lasting Effects
Helping your child develop these beliefs about themselves is key to navigating adversity. As you support your child, these beliefs can inspire action and create resilience. Your child’s resilience leads to better health, greater happiness, and deeper connections. Despite the challenges that life gives them.
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