Resilience is just about the most important strength you can foster in your kids. It’s that armor that protects them throughout their lives. Too many parents attempt to shield their children from the challenges and the woes of the world; but research has demonstrated that adversity can be turned into opportunities, if you approach it with the right attitude. A foundation of resilience begins with strong, supportive human attachments and helps kids rise up when they stumble and fall. Studies have shown that even badly parented kids can survive adversities on the way to adulthood if they have at least one person…an aunt, uncle, teacher, coach…. who believes in them completely, puts in the time to nurture them with encouragement and imparts to them an aspirational vision of the future. All children need to have a cheerleader who roots for them as they develop their own self-worth. These boosters help kids hold on to a belief in themselves even when they fail at something, make mistakes or just generally mess up.
Help your kids manage their feelings, fears and behaviors with lots of hugs and love and strong parenting. Start young! This sense of security, if you will, this unconditional love, is the key to developing a mosaic of traits that ultimately creates sensitive, successful and loving adults. Parents, hear this: building a quality relationship with your children from birth is the most critical thing you can do to protect them from the tribulations of the world. It’s a gift of a lifetime.
Here are some great tips from therapist Lynn Lyons (and me) for raising resilient kids:
- Don’t accommodate every need
- Avoid eliminating all risk
- Teach kids to problem solve
- Respond to why questions even when you lose patience!
- Don’t give kids all the answers, the process of figuring it out is important…discuss it with them.
- Above, all let kids make their own mistakes…
Just be there to help them recover and move on!