You are in the kitchen, and just a few feet away is your child sitting in front of the tv. You call out to her, and she does not respond. Again, you call out a bit louder and still no response; a bit louder and nothing. Next, you approach her and tap her shoulders, and she looks up at you, but she still can’t hear you. A visit to the doctor confirms that your baby has lost her hearing. What you do at this moment and every moment that follows will determine what your child does in this moment and every subsequent moment.
Resilience is the ability to overcome or recover from life’s difficulties. A New York Times article defines it as “the ability to engage with a challenge, risk or impediment, and come out the other side with some measure of success. It’s a psychological principle blending optimism, flexibility, problem-solving, and motivation.” Every person will face a challenge or have some difficulty in their life. How we respond and react to challenges will determine our life’s trajectory.
Why You Should Teach Your Kids to Be Resilient
It is impossible to get through life without facing challenges. A resilient person faces just as many difficulties as any other person but is prepared to recover, work through whatever the problems are, and move on. Resiliency is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and developed as kids grow. As mentioned above, it is a skill that will improve a child’s ability to be flexible, improve problem-solving skills, and become self-motivated.
Children should be taught to exercise their resiliency muscles to help them navigate life’s challenges as they arise.
Strategies for Raising Resilient Kids.
- Teach your kids to recognize their feelings
- Support your kids in their quest to find solutions
- Resist the urge to solve every problem for your kids
- Be intentional and honest with your kids
- Model what you preach
Teach your Kids to Recognize their Feelings
Emotions are a natural part of life. Parents instinctively try to manage their children’s feelings from birth. When a baby cries, a parent’s immediate instinct is to stop the crying; what if you allow the tears to flow once in a while? A child learns to recognize their feelings for even a short period will gain the building blocks of resiliency because they realize that the tears help the feelings released.
Parents must learn to deal with their feelings to successfully teach kids how to recognize and deal with their emotions. Be intentional about stopping to ask questions when your child is in the midst of emotional chaos, then talk to them about the problem and associated emotions; encourage them to let it out, and then help them to find ways to accept, resolve and move forward.
A child will be better equipped to manage stress if they learn how to recognize and deal with their emotions. They will be better equipped to handle stress, have less anxiety, and reduce the chance of depression.
Resist the Urge to Solve Every Problem for your Kids
How often have you said, don’t worry about it, I’ll do it, or don’t do that, do this instead? Learning is essential to growth. Resist the urge to solve every problem that your children face. Give them the tools to hone their problem-solving skills. Teach your kids to ask for help and recognize when they don’t have the solution to problems.
Kids with good problem-solving skills learn to be resilient by facing challenges head-on instead of approaching challenges with fear. Children with good problem-solving skills grow up to be great thinkers and innovators. They become valuable members of teams.
Be Intentional and Honest with your Kids
Children know when the adults in their lives are being untruthful. Telling your kids that everything will be okay when in reality, the problem’s resolution will take much longer builds false hope.
Intentionality and honesty will allow you to be vulnerable with your kids. Being truthful with your kid about the presented challenge means helping them navigate it one step at a time.
Model the Behavior
In The What I Wish Podcast episode, I interviewed Kellina Powell of Deaf Queen Boss. She lost her hearing at age four due to an ill-treated ear infection. Her mom helped her to be resilient by not making the disability a crutch.
Kellina spoke about how her mom adjusted their lives; her mom normalized the hearing loss. Her mom did not cry, and Kellina never saw her mom angry about the hearing loss (I’m sure she was, and she dealt with her emotions in her own way). She immediately enrolled Kellina in the right school and provided her with the right resources and support, which helped her to regain some hearing. Kellina’s mom pushed her to excel, learn how to speak, and not accept hearing loss as an excuse not to live her life.
Kellina is an author, a public speaker, mental Health Coach, and an advocate for the Deaf and Hearing Community. Such an inspiration.
Thanks for exploring this topic with me