The art of doing and being enough
How to find inner peace when you feel like you’re never getting enough done Mums (and Dads),...Read More
Every parent wants their child to grow up to be strong, resourceful and resilient. Resilience is the ability to overcome hardships and bounce back quickly. Mentally strong kids grow up to be resilient adults who are equipped to take on real-world challenges. As a parent, your protective instincts kick in the moment you see your child in trouble. That’s precisely the time to take a step back. Instead of helping your child out of trouble, teach them how to dig themselves out of a tricky situation. It’s not easy to watch your child struggle but these parenting practices will help you raise a resilient child.
Parents want to provide their kids with security and certainty. However this can get in the way of children developing their own problem-solving skills. Bulldozer or snowplow parenting is a modern term used to describe parents who simply remove all obstacles from their child’s path. People who use this parenting method believe that they are protecting their child and giving them a happy childhood. Unfortunately, experts say that this type of parenting often results in emotionally fragile children. Taking care of every problem your child encounters sends them the message, “you can’t manage this.” Which may trigger feelings of helplessness and sometimes anxiety in your children.
It’s not uncommon to hear a parent tell their kid to put on their helmet before they go cycling “so that you don’t get hurt”. Your child interprets this as “if I’m using a helmet, I can’t get hurt.” This doesn’t help them understand the concept of risks. Instead, teach your child that they might fall but that it will hurt less if they have their helmet on. This helps them understand that the joy of cycling comes with a small risk of getting hurt but that they can reduce this risk by making the smart choice and wearing a helmet. Quizzes during dinner may help your children to make sure they understand how to assess situations and take smart risks.
Never tell your child that they “should not feel nervous.” As this may make them think that their feelings are somehow “wrong”. Instead, empathise with your child and then encourage them to face their fears. For instance, if your child is scared to play on a slide. You can say something like “I know you are nervous and that’s okay because everyone feels nervous in the beginning but you might enjoy it”. This normalises your child’s nervousness and they feel encouraged to give it a go. Once they start to enjoy playing, you can use this as a teachable moment. Then explain to your child that once they moved past their nervousness, they were able to enjoy themselves.
Every parent wants to see their child excel and so they stress upon how important it is to succeed. Unfortunately, failure is a part of life. Protecting your child from it will only lead to distress and an inability to cope later in life. Parents often view failure as a source of pain for their child. Instead it should be seen as the ideal opportunity to work on your child’s emotional strength. Talk to your child and empathise with their frustration. Also point out that they are strong and can deal with this.
You may think that your child is the best however lavishing them with compliments can have a negative impact. Constantly complimenting your child will not improve his self-confidence. Instead, it will make him dependent on others for validation. Teach them to evaluate their own efforts so they can understand and appreciate their achievements. For instance, if your child has trouble colouring within the lines but manages to do it, don’t just tell then they are doing a good job. Then ask them what is different about this picture. This gives them the chance to evaluate their skills, realise the improvement and be proud of their efforts.
We live in a world where we want instant gratification for everything. From social media “likes” to pizza at our doorstep in less than 30 minutes. This is why it is so important to teach your child about the importance of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is a simple skill that will help your child become more independent, that will affect the rest of their life. For example, if your child wants an expensive item such as a bike. Don’t just give it to them as a gift. Instead, help them save enough to pay for it – through their allowance and the money they receive from relatives on their birthday.
Whatever problem your child is facing, keep in mind that you are not there to “fix” the problem for them. However help them to find a solution to their problem. For instance, if your child is struggling with their jigsaw puzzle, don’t swoop in and work on it with them. Instead, show them how to put all the outer pieces in place first so that it’s easier to do the rest. Experts refer to this parenting style as lighthouse parenting. Where you help your child by merely showing them the way and allowing them to do it on their own. This balanced method of parenting offers guidance and encouragement while simultaneously helping your child develop his skills.
It’s important to acknowledge your child’s achievements but some forms of praise are more conducive to emotional growth. For example, if your child has done well in a school test, don’t just praise them for being smart (a fixed state). Instead, praise the effort they put into their work and how they worked hard (a growth state) to get a good grade.
Creativity often starts with arts and crafts but then spills over into other areas of a child’s life. According to What To Expect experts, children often express their creativity through pretend play. This can help build verbal, social and even long-term problem-solving skills. In addition to this, you can also urge your children to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems they encounter in the real world. These activities will help improve your child’s mental and emotional development. Helping them to grow into responsible and resilient adults.
If you found this article interesting then you might enjoy reading 16 Delayed Gratification Exercises, Worksheets & Activities from Positive Psychology.
Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle, as she has battled and overcome eating disorders and obesity. She shares her experiences to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.