What is it that we really want for our kids? Do we want them to be…
• Well liked?
All of the above? “Well, yes of course “ Right…??
I don’t often hear parents say “Hey, I want my kids to be resilient”, but in essence it’s exactly what most of us want. We want our kids to be able to bounce back from life’s challenges. To overcome hardships & disappointments, to be able to grow & learn from these experiences, to rise above & come out the other side stronger. Yet as parents, many of our actions are the complete opposite of allowing our kids to learn from their challenges, mistakes, or bad judgement. All too often parents become “over” involved in resolving their kids’ problems.
Our kids need to learn to problem solve. Problem solving is an ongoing and evolving process; it takes many attempts and experiences to “get it”. And I’m not sure if you can ever master problem solving (I’m always re-evaluating my own actions)… but if you do have these skills, it’s much easier to deal with conflict and disappointment.
Kids need to live through consequences and learn from them. Children get a great sense of pride when they realize that they can cope, figure out solutions and see that it’s not so bad after all. The sun will still rise in morning… These skills help kids develop a long lasting positive outlook.
So, parents I ask you – “why do we still intervene too soon or too often”? I think sometimes it’s part of our parenting journey. I know that I hang my head in shame when I think of my overprotective moments… I can chuckle at myself now AND at the overreactions that I had… but hey it’s a learning process for us too. Now I try and keep my emotions in check so that I can be calm and supportive when my kids come to me. I start with taking a deep breath instead of jumping head first to fix the problem.
I want my kids to keep coming to us for guidance. So, I ask them questions… I ask them their opinions and encourage them to come up with solutions. I try to problem-solve with them, not for them. Sometimes the solutions work and sometimes they don’t… but we keep chatting. And it’s amazing how time also helps.
I completely understand how difficult it is to watch your child struggle & stumble through a difficult situation, but as parents if we can stand back and provide support as needed, our kids will learn valuable life skills.
But now the tricky part… How do we know when our kids need us to intervene? Well like most everything else, it’s on ongoing journey & should be part of your discussions together.
How do you help your kids develop resiliency? Share with us your stories.