September 17th, 2020
BUILDING RESILIENCE IN YOUR CHILD
In times of difficulty and uncertainty, it is more than ever necessary to build resilience so that your child can face obstacles that will help her work through challenges and cope with stress. None of us is born resilient, it a skill that we can develop as we grow. Resilience helps children navigate stressful situations such as losing friends, coping with grief, dealing with divorce, taking tests, handling bullies and cyberbullies. The more they bounce back the more they internalize they are strong and capable.
Here are a few strategies to build resilience:
1. Build a strong emotional connection with your child. Since children develop coping skills when interacting with caring caregivers, spend quality one-on-one time with your child. If your child feels the unconditional love and support from her parent, she will seek guidance and attempt to work through difficult situations.
2. Encourage healthy risk-taking. Taking healthy risks push your child out of his zone of comfort and may result in little harm if they are unsuccessful. Examples include trying a new sport, participating in the school play, or striking up a conversation with a shy peer. If your child avoids risks, he internalizes the message he is not strong enough to handle the challenge. When he embraces the risk, he learns to push himself.
3. Resist the urge to be a helicopter parent. The most common response from parents when her child comes to them with a problem is either to find a solution or to lecture her. However, these approaches do not promote self-reliance. Instead, ask questions to your child, brainstorm potential solutions, encourage her to come up with a list of ideas, and weigh the pros and cons.
4. Embrace mistakes. Avoiding failures shows a lack of resilience while embracing mistakes helps promote a growth mindset and teach your child that mistakes can help her learn. Focusing on the result instead of the process of getting to the end leads your child in the pass/fail cycle that induces high anxiety.
5. Model resiliency. The best way to teach resilience is to model it. If, as a parent, you use coping and calming strategies when encountering stressful situations then your child will witness a positive response. This will incite her to replicate your way of being and acting.
Resilience teaches your child to navigate the obstacles they encounter when growing up. Avoiding stress is not possible. However, resilience is one of the best tools to cope with it.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.