Resilience is our ability to cope with life’s ups and downs and bounce back after times of stress. It’s normal for parents to want to protect their kids, but it’s also important to help them build resilience.
The Family Life Program for Mums and Dads is designed to support parents no matter where they are in their parenting journey. Here are some tips from the Family Life Program on encouraging resilience.
How can parents help their children to build resilience? And why is it sometimes hard to do?
Being resilient means having the coping skills and the ability to be able to deal with problems and to be able to manage the emotions that come along with stressful situations.
Part of being resilient is being able to accept that feelings are transient, they don’t last forever. And to accept whatever feelings we have and deal with those feelings in an appropriate way.
So how do we help our children built their resilience?
12 tips to help children build resilience
Teach them that emotions are normal
It is important to help our children understand that having different feelings is normal and that their feelings will not last forever.
It is not possible for us to feel happy every day, there are times we’ll be upset, anxious, scared or sad. There’s nothing wrong with any emotion, it is what we do with that emotion that matters most.
Encourage them to talk about feelings and don’t judge them
Some people say that talking about feelings is weak. But it is not weak, it is human. Teach your children that it’s OK to talk about their feelings.
Be the person your child can talk to and express their feelings to and do it without judgement. We should not tell children how to feel.
Surround your child with positive, supportive people
Surround your child with people who are positive and who care about them. Grandparents, uncles, aunties and friends — whoever can be a positive influence and who will say things to your kids to make them feel good about themselves rather than put them down.
Encourage your children to surround themselves with positive friends.
Let children know it’s OK to ask for help
There is a lot of shame associated with asking for help but we all have different strengths, we all have different abilities.
Teach your kids that it’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK not to be able to do everything.
Establish routines for your children
Encouraging children to have a routine makes them feel safe and gives them stability. Just like it gives us stability.
Imagine if you didn’t know when you were going to work each day? Imagine your boss just calls you at 10am and says ‘come into work’. And then tomorrow you get the call at 3pm and the next day you get it at 3 in the morning.
Allow your children to make mistakes and learn from them
It’s normal to want to protect our children but if we jump in to solve every problem we’re not helping them learn to manage things themselves.
We need to stay around but not take action. First watch how the situation plays out, watch how your child manages the situation — don’t just jump in and do it for them.
Of course, if it is something that’s going to be dangerous, please step in.
If they do react in an inappropriate way, teach them the appropriate reaction but give them the opportunity to first decide for themselves and to learn.
Encourage children to be active and play frequently
Encourage children to play, be active, run around the yard, play sports, have friends around, have fun and enjoy being little children.
This helps them feel strong, capable, happy and therefore more resilient.
Give your kids the opportunity of independence. Give them the opportunity to make decisions — child-appropriate decisions. It builds their self-confidence, makes them feel competent and makes them feel like ‘yes, I can do things’.
Also let them know that there will be certain things they might not be able to do now but will be able to do when they’re older.
Encourage and model optimism and contentment
Encourage your kids to be optimistic. Even when there are difficult days ahead, encourage them to have a positive mindset.
Encourage kids to be content with what they have and model being content to our kids. Let them know that we can’t have everything we want.
Teach them it’s OK to fail
Teach your children from when they are very young that there is nothing wrong with failing when you try to do something.
Teach them to look at failing as a learning opportunity.
When you child knows that it’s OK to fail, if they do fail, they don’t look at themselves and think ‘I am a failure’ but they look at themselves and think ‘what do I need to do differently next time?’.
It is about knowing it’s OK to make mistakes sometimes but it what we do about the mistakes that’s important, it’s how we correct them that matters.
Allow them down time and teach them how to relax
Help children learn to relax. Teach your child to mediate or to sit and just ‘be’ — not doing anything — for five or 10 minutes.
Teach kids that it’s OK to have down time — time just to relax.
Help children face their fears
Encourage them and be there with them while they are facing their fears. Trying new things, safely, is a wonderful way to help our kids to be resilient.
We should also let our children know that there will be problems in this world, there will always be things that hurts us, there will always be things that don’t go well for us.
It is how we deal with those things that matter the most.
If you’re struggling with any aspect of parenting please contact us to make an appointment. Our Family Life Program — For Mums and Dads is a free program that offers parenting support, advice, referrals and emergency relief.
For more information or to book an appointment, phone 07 4953 1788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org