Lets talk about building resilience in children especially in the early years. Resilience is one of the most important social skills children can learn in their early years. When a child falls over generally a parent assesses the situation if not serious proceeds to say ‘pick yourself up, keep playing’. It has a stronger meaning than just keep going for a child it is the start of building resilience in children.
A quote from healthychildren.org explains the necessity for building resilience.
‘It’s not possible to protect our children from the ups and downs of life. Raising resilient children, however, is possible and can provide them with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood and to navigate successfully in adulthood. Despite our best efforts, we cannot prevent adversity and daily stress; but we can learn to be more resilient by changing how we think about challenges and adversities’.Healthychildren.org
Recently we had a situation at summer camp about 3 weeks in, the coach told us of an incident which happened that day. By the look on the coaches face I wasn’t sure if is was good or not so good.
During a football match our son went up to 2 older boys, asked them politely to ‘stop fighting, it’s just a game’.. (very proud as usually it would be him in this situation) However, the two boys didn’t like this, then they decided to spit on my son for asking them to stop, so instead of walking away.
He thought he would take it into his own hands… his reaction was to push both the children’s heads together with his hands which resulted in both children crying please note he is 2 years younger. Gone from proud parent to shocked now as you can imagine. He went from a peace maker to the law enforcer with no boundaries. My husband referred to this as the politeness of a British boy and the tact of an Aussie.
When the coach spoke to me their comment was they told him it was wrong, explained how to deal with it next time. He didn’t get him in too much trouble as he was doing the right thing breaking up the fight. Then sticking up for himself, however he needed to verbalise it better next time instead of using his hands. He mentioned if it was their son he would be proud they knew not to fight, happy the child can stick up for himself with confidence.
At first I wasn’t sure how to deal with this as I did feel the same. I don’t want to crush the spirit of this child. However need to manage his reactions next time, explain its wrong and learn to walk away. This is where curriculum in schools are so important to include emotional intelligence, resilience, other social skills to be focused on more in early years. These foundation skills will create resilient and confident children for life. However as parents we need to also build resilience in our children. A great anti-bullying song has gone viral recently.
When dad and musician Khari Toure learned that his daughter Nia had been bullied at school, he wrote a special song to help her cope with negativity in her life.
“Love Yourself” is an empowering anthem with lyrics like “I’m beautiful. I’m worthy. And those mean words can’t hurt me.” With over 1.3 million views on YouTube, it’s clear that the song and music video are inspiring people all over the world. Huffington Post 2015
Strategies For Building Resilience from Parenting ideas website.
From a resilience perspective parents need to coach kids through some of their more challenging moments and reviewing what they may have learned for next time. Avoid solving all their problems for them.
You can promote a lasting sense of resilience in your kids by:
- Having a positive attitude yourself. Your attitude as a parent impacts on their ability to bounce back from some of the difficulties they face. Make sure you model a ‘you can do it’ attitude for your child when he meets some of life’s curve balls.
- Look for teachable moments. Many kids’ learning opportunities are disguised as problems. Make the most of these opportunities so that kids can grow and learn from some of the challenges they face.
- Make kids active participants in the family. Active participation in a family develops the self-help, problem-solving and independence skills of kids that are necessary for resilience.
- Build kids coping skills. There are plenty of strategies you can pass on to kids to help them cope when life doesn’t go their way, including acceptance, getting away for awhile, and normalisation.
Promoting resilience in kids is a not a single event but a continuous process that requires adults to be supportive and empathetic when things don’t go their way. It also requires you as a parent to have an understanding of resilience, so you have faith in your yourself, and your child’s ability to cope. Parentingideas.com.au
Let’s educate our children on resilience, build their confidence in order to get the best out of them in everyday life they lead. Love to hear your experience and advice on building resilience.