When you think of the top attributes you want to foster in your kids, what comes to mind? A good work ethic? Kindness? Compassion? Maybe responsibility and obedience? As great as these attributes are, one of the most important attributes a person can have is resilience. Resilience may not be something you can give to your kids, but it is something you can help them to develop.
Let Them Problem Solve
As parents, teachers, and mentors, we love our kids and would do anything for them. Unfortunately, that means we sometimes jump in and rescue them from their problems too soon. When your kids face a challenge, offer your support but allow them to think of solutions themselves. While there are times when it may become necessary to intervene, kids can usually resolve most of their issues on their own, gaining resilience, self-confidence, and other vital life skills at the same time.
Allow Them to Take Appropriate Risks
If your goal in life is to keep your kids from ever failing, struggling, or getting hurt, you will probably discourage them from taking any risks. It might be hard to watch your kids struggle, fail, and maybe even get hurt, but try to trust in the deep resilience that lives within all humankind. Whatever the risk, whether your kids soar or fall, they will have gained something valuable–resilience. Just remember, risk is appropriate if the chances for at least moderate success are high and the likelihood of lasting negative consequences is low.
Help Them Stretch
Perfectionism is the enemy of resilience. It keeps us in our comfort zone, unwilling to try new things for fear of failure. And yet, stretching and growing and experiencing new things are exactly what foster good self-esteem, while failure fosters resilience. Help your child know that it is ok not to be perfect. It’s even ok to fail. But by stepping out of their comfort zone they will become more resilient and more self-confident.
When you love someone, your first instinct is to protect them–even from the experiences that will give them valuable knowledge and life skills. As tempting as it may be to roll your kids up in bubble wrap, remember that risks, failures, stretches, and falls are all vital parts of growing up. The best thing you can do is encourage, support, and love your kids as they navigate their own challenges.
Want to donate your time or means to a worthy cause? Help teens by mentoring or donating to New Pathways for Youth by clicking here!