Five Ways to Teach Your Children Resiliency

By on August 4, 2020

You may have imagined that by the time you reach your 50s, you’d be slowing down on parenting, but it just isn’t so. If your kids didn’t have a strong foundation to become self- sufficient, resilient human beings, and they are in their late teens and early twenties, you often are faced with trying to undo some of what they learned or teach what they didn’t. Below are five guidelines to foster resiliency in your children at any age. If you still have young ones in the house or even better, grandchildren in your lives, the younger you start, the more resilient they become.

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity and roll with challenges. As much as we may desire, it’s not realistic to assume our children will sail through life without facing major obstacles. Children must know they are capable of handling adverse situations on their own.  Otherwise, their default reaction will be to reach out to others.

Below are my favorite tactics to build resilient children. It is never too early to begin and never too late to try.

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Let your children fail—and often

Children must learn it is okay to try new things and not always be successful. Don’t helicopter them. Encourage them to try as many new things as possible. It will help them develop a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Applaud the effort of trying something new. Don’t fixate on the outcome. Help them see that failures are the stepping stones to success. Help them find lessons and useful information in failure. Encourage the belief: the juice is in the journey.

Resist the urge to fix things for them

It is a natural tendency to intervene rather than encourage kids to fix their problems. Better to ask provocative open-ended, genuinely curious, and clarifying questions that allow them to find direction. They can take the form of when, where, how or why. This allows them to think outside the box, devise their own solutions, and learn to evaluate the pros and cons. Being present and involved in that way is the support they need.

Teach them to honor their emotions

When your child learns to recognize that all their feelings are valid, their resiliency improves exponentially. There is a difference, for example, between feeling sad and being a sad person. Our identity is not an emotion. Help them get to their back story. What is behind the feelings? What triggered them? Teach them to trust their intuition.

Teach them to be comfortable being uncomfortable

Comfort zones are just that, comfy. Nothing grows in the comfort zone, only outside it. Learning to take small, chunked down steps with follow-through teaches your children to trust themselves. They must develop compassion for their fears and have faith that the Universe supports them. Whatever happens, is supposed to happen. Lessons and gifts exist in all outcomes. Moving forward with fear is the muscle they need to exercise. Becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable feeling that comes when leaving the comfort zone is what you want them to learn to do. It empowers them, youth, and young adults alike.

Teach them to be the observer, not the reactor

If you help your children step back and observe what’s happening before reacting, it will be a game-changer. The event may be outside their control. But how they respond is 100% theirs. It requires work and patience, and if you can model this behavior for them, all the better. When they step back and analyze their feelings and take a moment to see the other side as well, the outcome will be different.

Life happens for them and not for them. Life will not always be smooth, which they should know and experience. We all fall. That’s not the issue. How long we stay down and what we do when we raise is the issue. When they become the observer and learn to respect their failures, honor their feelings, and try new things even when afraid, they learn to trust their intuition and become the resilient, self-reliant adults we all strive to be.

Written By Nancy Pickard, author of Bigger, Better, Braver

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Five Ways to Teach Your Children Resiliency