A parent’s role is not to cotton-wool our kids from reality, but rather to equip them with skills to live it well. Children who can recognise their strong thoughts or feelings and respond to them in a safe way are more able to cope with the pressures of life.
Here are 3 simple ways to help grow your child’s resilience so they can better bounce back after a challenging experience.
1.Give it a name. When you experience frustration, resentment, fear or other uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, label it for what it is. When you see your child struggling with the same, empathise and share your hunch. No shame, no blame; say it how you see it, in simple language. Once the feeling has a name it can be recognised, and then responded to.
2. Model what you want to see. Modeling mistakes and so-called negative emotions helps a child to understand that they are not alone and that these feelings are not to be feared. But don't stop there; model your coping strategies and positive moods too. Go take yourself to ‘time-out’ in your bedroom next time your feeling angry – now that’s modeling!
3. Use the quiet moments. When stressed and adrenalin is running high no one is at his or her best for learning. Allow space for the dust to settle. When ready, gently re-connect with your child. Listen, consider options and together plan towards a more resourceful way of managing next time around.
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” Albert Einstein
We can't protect our children from ever having a bad experience, but we can teach them skills - so when they fall over, they learn to get up, dust themselves off and have another go at it - that's resilience!