I suppose it’s natural for a parent to want to protect their child from disappointment and heartache. I worried for more than six weeks about when the right time would be for our kids to see their dad who was comatose and had several other life threatening health problems from the car accident. They asked me every day when they would be able to see him. At ages seven and eight years old they couldn’t understand how severely hurt he was until they saw him. I don’t claim to have all the answers, nor do I know that my timing was perfect. What I do know is that I had their best interest in mind when I made the decision. Christopher and Katie were stunned when they walked into the room where their dad lay unconscious. At the first sight of him they stopped in their tracks and with unbelieving, widened eyes looked at him. The surgical masks they were required to wear in his room hid their opened mouths. Afraid to get any closer, they stayed just inside the doorway, speechless. What I learned from this experience is that our children are stronger and more resilient than I realized. They quickly recovered from the shock of their dad’s condition and the next time they saw him they weren’t afraid.
Since life is full of various illnesses, threats, tragedy, death, family and other relationship problems, it’s impossible to save them from all the adversities of life. Therefore, it’s essential to help our children rise above hurting because disastrous things will happen in their lives. Just as it is with adults, it’s common for children to experience setbacks, unwanted challenges, failures and even difficulties at home and school. If we protect our children from every fall, which is tempting to do, how will they learn to bounce back? As adults, it’s rewarding to see resilient children who are capable of effectively handling disappointment, failure and obstacles. Teaching children how to recover from hard times is important.
Here are four great tips I found on http://www.raisingresilientkids.com/.
Tip # 1 Give Our Children Undivided Attention
Quality time with children is more than just being with them physically. We must give them undivided attention by listening with our heart. When we give our full attention, they will feel important. They will be confident they can trust and depend on us in handling their situation.
Tip #2 Put Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes
When you face difficult situations and setbacks, you may talk to your spouse or a friend about it. All too often their response will be, “It’s okay, you can try again next time.” There’s nothing wrong with this reaction, however, it’s not what you wanted to hear. You want empathy and assurance that they will be with you until you are able to recover from your disappointment. Your children also need these things when they are down. They don’t want lectures or advice. Letting them know you understand them and you’re willing to support them will teach them resilience.
Tip # 3 Don’t Judge or Criticize Your Children
Accepting your children for who they are is one of the best ways to make them resilient. Well accepted and appreciated children become more confident and strong in facing any obstacles in life. If they aren’t criticized for the way they are, they become more appreciative of themselves and do better in life.
Tip # 4 Determine Your Child’s Strengths and Help Them Develop Those Strength
Each child has his own strengths and weaknesses. For example, if your child is good at music or a craft, help develop it and don’t try to make him excel in math or sports. Helping your child know his strengths will promote resilience in letting him know that he excels in somethings.
I would love to hear about a time when your child has been resilient or a tip on how you’ve taught this important trait.