Just like adults, children have many reasons to feel sad and depressed. However, children are more sensitive to stress because they do not know how to act accordingly, solve their problems, and heal unless you teach them.
If you successfully teach your kid to be a resilient person, you will not
only solve the problems he/she faces in childhood but also make him/her a more successful person who can deal with stress and recover quickly in adulthood.
In this article, I’ll talk about how you can improve yourself and your child to cope with stress in your life and become a more resilient person.
Why Should We Teach Our Children to Be a Resilient Person?
The word resilience means dealing with the difficulties encountered strongly. It is very important how we deal with challenges in everyday life.
It is harder to struggle with the problems encountered in early childhood. Children in the small age groups have very few experiences in life, and their approach to the problems are more unconventional.
Therefore, it may be necessary to teach especially young children how to deal with the problems they face and to become strong.
Children face so many problems every day and try to cope with them. For example, children may have an authoritative family at home,
problems with socializing with peers outside and they might be struggling to meet the expectations of adults for being successful at school.
It is revealed that in the United States approximately 6.3 million children are under stress. To speak more precisely, 20% of girls and 30% of boys have an anxiety disorder (the National Institute of Mental Health).
How will we make them more resilient when they are living in such an environment? In this article, I will give you 7 tips to make your children more resilient.
How Can We Raise More Resilient Children?
Each child has a different level of resilience and can react differently from the other children in a stressful situation.
Therefore, we must take the individual differences into account in order to raise the level of children’s resilience.
1) Allow Your Child to Make Mistakes
We can make many mistakes which we face the consequences of in everyday life. As a result, it is easy for parents to anticipate the consequences of our children’s mistakes
As we can see them in advance, we sometimes warn our children before they make a mistake. Therefore, we do not allow them to do wrong and expect them to do everything in the right manner.
On the other hand, humankind becomes more resilient by making mistakes and learning from these mistakes. Experiencing different situations, evaluating them, and observing the possible consequences of them provide people with many skills in life.
When our children face problems in the future, we can be sure that they use their past experiences to solve them. We can also help them to think about the possible consequences more easily.
For example, when you go to a playground, your child may want to climb to the top of the climbing wall. However, you may think that your child should not do it because he/she is so small for it. Therefore, you may not let him/her climb the wall.
You can think of that climbing wall as one of the problems your child faces.
When you allow your child, you will see that he/she can be successful. However, the contrary of it is possible and your child may fall which will hurt you to let your child fall and get bruised.
However, when you give your child this opportunity, the next time he/she can manage to climb on his/her own. You should not let your child feel that he/she is too weak to manage a problem, which might make him/her not want to climb to the wall again.
2) Keep Your Child out of Social Pressure
As the children grow up and enter into different developmental stages, the social environment in which they exist expands and multiplies.
Children have new roles in these environments which may provide them opportunities for successful social communication or bring many failures.
According to Sameroff A.(2013), children are affected by their social groups, namely their friends at school, family, peers, and neighbors. The variables that have an impact on children’s behavior are gender, race, achievements, and mental health.
Children may be withdrawn and may not be able to overcome this if they encounter any adverse conditions in their environment. We must support our children in all situations and refrain from breaking their motivation.
We must prepare ourselves against adverse environmental conditions that children may encounter. Each environment may have many different negative effects on children and we can tell them how to behave when they encounter them.
3) Praise Your Child for His/Her Achievements
Children need feedback to reinforce their positive behavior. When they perform a certain behavior, they show it to their parents and ask them how they are.
You should not tell your children not to perform negative behaviors because it is not a very effective method. Instead, when your child has a positive attitude, praising him/her will reinforce this behavior. In this way, the expected behavior is highlighted.
Praising your child will also fulfill his/her self-confidence. He/she will not feel guilty about his/her negative behaviors so he/she will be more resilient against negativity.
However, we should praise the behavior, not the child. We should not call them “very successful” or “very intelligent”. Instead, you can say that it makes you proud when he/she does this, and it’s a good job.
The mindset of your child may change with the feedback. For example, a child who says “I’m not good at math.” may react differently after his/her thought structure has changed and starts to say “I’m not very good at math, but I can do it if I work.”
As a result, if you want your child to become resilient, you can praise his/her positive behaviors without ignoring his/her negative behaviors.
4) Talk to Your Child in Negative Situations
Your child may give extreme reactions to a situation. As a parent, you need to know how to deal with those critical moments.
First of all, what you need to do is to be calm and take a deep breath. This will prepare you for your speech both physically and spiritually.
Then, you need to pay attention to control your emotions and should not give extreme reactions. You should know that your child is watching you and is waiting for your reaction.
The next thing you need to do is to communicate verbally with your child. For example, if you are very angry, you can give your child answers like “I’m a little nervous now, let’s talk a little later”.
The most effective way
When these sparks begin to give enough light, you can communicate effectively with your children. You can give them the opportunity to expose their potential.
5) Develop Your Child’s Problem Solving Skills
You should allow your children to encounter problems and offer possible solutions to these problems. They don’t have anywhere else
as safe as your side they
First of all, you need to get rid of your concerns. You shouldn’t make remarks such as “My child can’t do this, you can’t do that”. Instead, you can support your child to offer him/her new experiences.
Simply, you can start a problematic situation to encourage him/her to solve. You can ask your child questions about how to approach it.
Also, you can produce various solutions together and observe them by trial and error. Then you can talk with your child about how the process goes, what is successful and what is not.
In this way, you can realize the effective problem-solving stages. Your goal here is not only to solve the problem but also to support your child to be more capable and to ensure that he/she can handle the problem successfully.
In this way, when your children encounter a problem, they will be able to produce solutions for the problems more easily. Therefore, your child will have critical thinking skills for solving problems whether in everyday life or social life.
6) Know the Importance of the Play Time
Playing is an essential and indispensable activity in a child’s life. The games has many positive effects on children’s social, emotional, cognitive and motor development.
These games can be with rules or without rules. Either way, the children have the opportunity to experience many events and behaviors during their play.
The games allow children to experience new things in many areas and thus reinforce their confidence and resilience. They also develop many social skills such as division of labor, sharing, and assistance (
American Academy of Pediatrics, 2007).
Children gain a wide variety of experience in playing time which can be either from real life or the imaginary world they created.
Children develop their skills to express themselves in this imaginary environment through putting forward new problematic situations and to deal with them.
Through these skills, children learn to struggle with the challenges they face in everyday life and to improve their level of resilience. For example, a child may want to give a meal party on his/her own during the free activity time.
He/she finds a place in the classroom for this activity, makes a list for food and calls the guests. When we examine the activity, it may look as a trivial game.
However, looking more closely, you can see that your child encounters many problems in the course of this game. For example, his/her friend may not want to attend the invitation which might make him/her experience stress. Even if the child has set everything up, he/she may not have enough time for it.
The child has to prepare him/herself for many possibilities like these during the game. This may cause more stress and problems for the child. Therefore, the game can support children in many areas; social, emotional, cognitive, and environmental.
7) Do Not Meet Your Child’s Every Need
Every family does their best to help their children grow, develop, and succeed. They try to do everything for their children. Sometimes families can start to do what children have to do.
Parents are in their child’s side whenever needed. They could show support from their child when he/she has every need. If they see this support at all times, they will need more support in the future.
Such invested children may feel themselves vulnerable and helpless in any situation. In addition, children who have been raised in this way may not be able to show resilience in harder situations.
As a result, you should not always support your child. Let your child try a little more when he/she is having difficulties in solving the problems. Give him/her the opportunity to do something on his/her own. In this way, it is easier for them to cope with problems
Many parents do their best to ensure that their children have a better future. Parents offer their children many opportunities like sending them to different schools, buying the toys they want, and letting them wear the clothes they want.
However, children face different problems throughout their lives and these problems causes stress. It is our duty as parents to help children overcome these stressful situations.
To raise their level of resilience, we need to talk to them, provide different experiences, and allow them to do wrong. In order for our children to grow up better, we need to prepare them for the situations they will encounter, and what they can do in these situations.
The more we let them face different situations, the more we will help them to deal with other problems they may encounter in the future.
Keep in mind that every investment you make to your child today will contribute to her becoming a better individual in the future.
Reading, R. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Child: Care, Health and Development,33(6), 807-808. Doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2007.00799_8.x
Sameroff, A.(2013). Early Resilience and Its Developmental Consequences. Enciklopedia on Early Childhood Development. University of Michigan, USA. 2nd edit.
Wood, J. J., Mcleod, B. D., Sigman, M., Hwang, W., & Chu, B. C. (2002). Parenting and childhood anxiety: Theory, empirical findings, and future directions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,44(1), 134-151. Doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00106