Help Your Kids Develop Resilience
Resilience = Returning to your original position.
One of our most important jobs as parents is to foster resilience in our children so they can face life’s challenges on their own two feet. We can’t protect them from all the nasties out there, but we can empower them by modelling resilience for them, and providing them with a solid love-core built from:
- Unconditional love
- Empathetic responses to them and others.
- Encouragement of hard work and accomplishments (without false praise).
- Building confidence in them by listening to what they say, working things out together, encouraging their dreams and aspirations, recognising their strengths, and working with them to achieve goals.
Communicate with your children. Remind them (often) that they can come to you to talk about anything. If it’s not a good time for you when they approach you, (as it often is) tell them you’ll be able to concentrate on this issue much better, later on in the day. Organise time and don’t forget!
Listen to them when they tell you things, and resist the urge to jump in with advice or react negatively to things they tell you. Be calm, use active listening techniques – nod, smile, and ask them questions about it. Sometimes your child’s pain is so deep that being listened to and held is all they can handle. They might not have reached the next stage of wanting to discuss it yet.
My teenage niece was recently having friendship problems. Friends and friendship issues are as emotionally traumatic to a child or teenager as a relationship breakdown is for an adult. I was chomping at the bit to instil in her all my worldly advice, but it was all coming from a place of desperation and fear – I hated to see her in pain. So I stopped myself butting in and just listened to her.
One box of tissues later, she felt lighter, unburdened, and more empowered to deal with the situation. I felt better because I managed to help her without even saying more than a few words! It’s true that most people need to be listened to and understood rather than hear advice. I had connected with her, because ‘my stuff’ hadn’t got in the way. When she was ready, we went on to discuss ideas and solutions together, but I was still mainly listening.
I noticed my children would often blame their unhappiness on other people or external factors, just as I would do before I became aware I was doing it. It would trigger me all the way to hell and back to hear about their problems at school. I felt powerless to ‘fix’ their problems for them. And in reality, I was powerless – I couldn’t fix every single thing for them when I wasn’t even there.
But by wanting to fix everything, I was taking valuable life skills from them. They needed to work some things out for themselves where they could. I’d been whisking away all life’s challenges with my mummy claws. It had left them feeling defenceless, with little to no resilience, so things had to change.
I reminded them regularly that we don’t have control of other people, but we do have control of ourselves. It was hard for my children to grasp this concept, but it was an important one to learn. I taught them that anything can be worked out, some things just take more time, and some things are just meant to go a different way.
When they reacted with horror at this notion, I told them how good I felt knowing that I have control over myself, and that meant if I didn’t have control over others, then no-one else had control over me, right? How awesome was that?
Kinesiology can aid you as a parent, to be the role model your children need you to be. Give yourself the energy you need to instil in your children, a sense of their own worth – a priceless gift!
If this resonates with you, perhaps you too will benefit from seeing a Kinesiologist. Make an appointment today.