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Published on May 9th, 2017 | 268 Views


5 tips for teaching kids to be resilient

Last autumn I was invited to attend a parenting workshop on helping kids be resilient, and it’s a topic that I’ve kept thinking about and regularly discussing with friends. That’s why I’ve also asked London director of parenting course provider The Parent Practice Elaine Halligan to give some advice for parents on how to encourage resilience. Here are the top tips from Elaine:

Helping kids deal with life’s knocks is a vital part of our role as parents. Having grit and resilience is key for millennials if they are going to thrive in the 21st century. We know that our children will experience failure and they will need to be able to cope with their feelings, pick themselves up and try again. Here’s how to encourage resilience:

  1. Ensure a healthy self esteem

The ability to cope with setbacks is closely linked to self-esteem.  Children feel capable when they know what they did right (and they know they can do it again), when they know they are unconditionally loved and accepted for who they are, not for matching up to someone else’s ideal or because of their achievements. Praise them descriptively for the effort they make, the attitude they exhibit and the qualities their actions show, especially courage.

  1. Don’t rescue but provide structure for success.

Rescuing children can prevent them from learning important lessons. But research shows that if parents just stand by and let children fail they can experience that as not being loved. Instead of learning the lesson that they should have practiced the clarinet, or revised their tables, they learn that they are failures and that their parents did not care enough to help them succeed. Offer to help them to organise the science project BUT resist the impulse to improve on the project yourself.

  1. Don’t provide all the answers

Encourage your children to be problem-solvers and allow them to think for themselves. Ask them what ideas they have to solve the problem. Refer to their previous solutions.

  1. Be an Emotion Coach – don’t reassure

Resist leaping in and telling your child “It’ll all be fine” and “Nothing to worry about” and “You’re just being silly –man up!” Discussing feelings enables kids to understand that emotions are part of life and will pass. Teach them ways to manage feelings.

  1. Allow mistakes

Give your children freedom to play and make mistakes. Climbing trees teaches risk-assessment. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities.

The next The Parent Practice workshop on Helping Kids Be Resilient is on 16 May in Clapham


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