As a teacher, I have witnessed a change in kids from when I was young.
I will be blunt: It seems that more and more children lack self-sufficiency and expect handouts.
Many parents expect their child to receive an “A” even if “A” is not deserved.
Parents also seem a lot more involved than they were in the past. This, in many ways, is a good thing, and it is evident that these parents care, but it comes to a point when there can be too much involvement, and the term “helicopter parents” is a standard description for those who hover a little too much.
As a mother too, I know how difficult being a parent can be.
This has offered me a unique perspective on my teaching career and my motherhood. The topic of how I will raise two resilient sons is something I strive for, but something that I also know is easier said than done.
I am no expert, but I do feel that my perspective as both a teacher and mom provides an exciting view of what does and what does not contribute to raising a resilient child.
Here are five ways to ensure resilience in your kids:
1. Love and Pay Attention to Them
This seems like common sense, I know, but it is the foundation of providing that your child is capable of weathering the storm. A child needs to know that they are loved.
Parents make mistakes; kids make mistakes. But no matter what, the child should know that their parent loves them. With love also comes attention.
Laugh with them, settle them down when they get hurt, and just let them know that you care. If a child is loved, they gain confidence, and with confidence, they learn resilience.
2. Let Them Know They are Safe
It is our responsibility as parents to ensure that our children are safe.
This begins in the home. Create a positive space that children know they belong to. Also, make sure that this is a safe environment.
Unfortunately, many homes are not.
Life with kids gets messy, but your home should not be on the verge of condemnation. There should be no verbal and physical abuse, and if addiction is present, it needs to be dealt with ASAP.
Children need safety.
This safety affects their emotional well-being and provides them with the strength they need during tough times. If a child is encountering tough times consistently at home, there will be little left to deal with the obstacles outside of the house.
3. Let Them Create Their Own Goals and Dreams
So often we project our dreams and goals onto our children. We may not even know it. It’s important to take a step back and think about the best interest of the child.
Do they want to be an athlete, a doctor, a lawyer, a musician?
Let them explore and find their passions. Don’t push them to do something that you wish you had. They need to find their way, and although hard, we need to let them see their bliss.
4. Focus on Intrinsic Motivation
When kids are young, it is easy to dangle a cookie in front of them.
Some of us bribe them out of desperation and lack of sleep. Once in a while, this is okay. But as our children grow, we need to decrease the material rewards.
Kids need to learn about intrinsic motivation; the need to find positivity in doing something because they realize it benefits them. They need to learn to complete a task because they know it is right.
At some point, we need to lay off the cookies and let our child find his/her motivators.
This will create a passion and fire that will be a force to be reckoned with.
5. Let Go
This one can be incredibly hard, but it is so important. There comes a time, when you have to let go. This does not mean to stop loving them.
This does not mean to give up and let your kids do anything they want.
This just means that you have to give them the opportunity to make their own decisions.
You have to let them fall, while still letting them know that you are there. Sometimes parents think they are helping by doing everything for their child, but they are not. Give them some space. Let them learn.
A lot of the suggestions above are easier said than done. Parents want to do whatever they can to help their child, and sometimes the best help we can give them is just to back off a little.
Have a little faith that your child is capable and has the strength to figure things out. And when they don’t, when they falter, and they will, you will be there.
You will pick them up and brush off the dirt. You will remind them that they are loved, and they will try again.