It’s undeniably an integral role of parents that they must protect their children from harm and stress. However, it is just as important that parents not coddle their children, and teach them how to fend for themselves, and be resilient in the face of life’s challenges. Here are some ways that the trait of resilience can be developed in children
Teach them problem-solving skills
Learning how to solve problems on one’s own is something that should be taught from a young age. Critical thinking and decision-making skills will be useful well into adulthood.
Give them the space they need to make choices
Helicopter parenting and micromanagement will only lead to a child who can’t choose for themselves. Make sure that they can do just that by providing for space, time, and freedom.
Children should be aware of how people see them, and the fact that their actions have consequences. While mental maturity won’t fully allow this until a later stage of development, it’s helpful to start early.
Help children challenge themselves
Rather than enforcing a strict study time or grade goals, try to get your children to make their own objectives and schedules, to challenge themselves without external pressure or motivation.
Teach them to learn from mistakes – and allow them these mistakes
Failure is an incredible teacher, as we’ve described in a previous blog entry. Teach your kids not to see failure as a wholly negative thing, but rather as a learning opportunity. And when they do make mistakes, show them that you’re not judgmental – otherwise you may make them unnecessarily risk-averse, and afraid of negative opinions.
Don’t give them all the answers, and encourage autonomous behavior
Spoon-feeding your children the answers, whether in their homework or in various life situations, will cause them to become dependent on you. Encouraging independence in this way will help build character, especially in problem solving and self-reliance.
Related to this is that children can’t just be waiting on your permission or advice for everything. Teach them that they can make their own decisions and act on them, with just mild supervision.
Be a role model of resilience
It’s difficult to teach your children resilience if you yourself aren’t being an example of it. Demonstrate to them how you’ve handled your problems in the past. Show them that everyone goes through hardship or trials of some kind, and that people are defined by the way they handle themselves.
Don’t praise too much, and never praise simply for “intelligence”
Hearing nothing but endless praise may create complacent children, or children who don’t know how to handle criticism. Show them where they might have room for improvement.
In addition to this, praise children for concrete achievements and character traits, not for some abstract concept of “intelligence.” Don’t always be saying “You’re so smart!” Rather, congratulate them for finished projects, good grades, and worthy behavior. Doing this will make your praise more honest and genuine, which they’ll appreciate more!
Develop coping strategies
Some levels of stress and certain challenges may prove too much to bear by simply tackling head-on. Teach your children how to deal with anxiety, how to calm down and breathe deep when faced with a situation that causes them to panic.
Give them an environment that cares for them while developing resilience
Swiss International School in Dubai nurtures its children with the highest standards of pastoral care, but also instills independence and discipline in them. This is combined with the International Baccaulaureate curriculum, which offers a variety of opportunities to develop students’ critical thinking and decision-making processes. Through the right care and the right education, our children are formed into resilient young men and women who will be ready for whatever the world has to off