Raising Resilient Children: A Guide for Parents
Childhood trauma and abuse can lead to a range of issues down the road, from anxiety and depression to behavioral problems and even personality disorders. But there are things you can do to help prevent your children from developing these issues as they grow up. Here’s how to raise resilient children and help them build the skills they need to cope with stress, overcome setbacks, and bounce back from traumatic experiences so they can lead happy, healthy lives.
The Importance of Giving Your Child Choices
One of the most important things you can do to raise a resilient child is to give him choices. Giving your children choices provides them with a sense of control, which has been linked to increased happiness and decreased anxiety. By giving your children choices (even small ones), you are showing that you respect their opinions and value their input. This is often more valuable than being right yourself! In addition, children raised with an abundance of choice develop better problem-solving skills and are able to adapt more easily in times of change.
Letting Them Make Mistakes Helps Them Learn From their Experiences
While it’s important to set guidelines and ground rules, it’s also vital to let your children make mistakes. When they do, guide them through what went wrong and allow them to come up with solutions on their own. This will help them be more independent in future. It might not always seem like it at first, but letting your child fail is an excellent way of showing him how resilient he/she can be.
Don’t Shelter Them From Pain
Children who are shielded from distress and adversity tend to lack coping skills as they grow up. Instead, help them face life’s challenges head-on, so they can build their resilience in a way that is healthy for them. Let them fight their own battles at times; encourage them to try new things but don’t rescue them every time something goes wrong; make sure they understand you love and support them even when they fail.
Teach Them the Difference Between Good and Bad Coping Mechanisms
In order to teach our children how to deal with stress in a productive way, we need to explain to them that feelings are just feelings. They don’t have to let their emotions get so out of control that they feel like something is wrong with them or make negative self-judgments about their thoughts or actions. This means teaching them what coping mechanisms are healthy and which ones aren’t. For example, if your child feels sad after being teased by his peers at school, you can tell him that he doesn’t have to push those feelings down inside and pretend they don’t exist; instead, he can talk about it with you or another trusted adult and figure out ways to handle it better next time. This will help him learn how to be more resilient when dealing with similar situations in the future.
Give Them Responsibility
Start giving your children responsibilities in small increments. Start by having them make their own bed, empty their own trash and pick up toys they have scattered throughout their room. It may seem like a huge hassle to you, but it’s an important part of teaching them how to take care of themselves. If they don’t know how to do these things now, what will happen when they are living on their own? Plus, if you start giving them responsibilities now, it will be easier for them to learn as adults because you already laid down a foundation.
Set Rules and Follow Through with Consequences
Make it a habit to sit down with your child and explain, in clear terms, what behaviors are acceptable and which ones aren’t. Then follow through with consequences when rules are broken. Modeling good behavior is an essential step to raising resilient children. For example, if you tell your kids that they can’t have dessert until they finish their dinner, make sure you model eating dinner before having dessert yourself. This shows them that following rules is important — and also gives them a role model for setting boundaries.
Praise Effort, not Results
When we praise a child for their results, we send a message that to be valuable, they need to be successful. This mindset can create feelings of failure and self-doubt in our children. Instead, it’s important to focus on praising effort. By focusing on process rather than outcome, you’re teaching your kids that hard work pays off — regardless of whether or not they succeed. For example, instead of saying You got an A! try saying I love how much time you spent studying! It makes me so proud to see how hard you worked.
Take Care of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Your Kids.
As any parent knows, it’s often hard to care for a child when you feel like you’re not at your best. But new research shows that raising resilient children depends on taking care of ourselves — and not just because we are more pleasant to be around. Parents who report lower levels of stress and greater overall well-being tend to raise kids who have higher self-esteem and less anxiety. So make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating right, and staying active; in turn, you will likely be better able to give your kids what they need most: love and support.
Parents today have more tools at their disposal than ever before, so it’s not just possible but easy to raise resilient children. By following these steps in combination with your parenting style and values, you can create kids who are capable of handling whatever life throws at them. With a little patience and hard work, you’ll soon have an army of resilient children that can face anything!