Kids have it so easy now. But, is that a good thing?
As parents, are we guilty of indulging almost every whim and for swooping in to fix problems so our children don’t feel pain, hurt and disappointment?
It might be hard to believe, but a little failure can go a long way toward making kids into adults better able to bounce back when things don’t go their way.
Psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, Amy Morin, LCSW, recently shared 8 ways of instilling resilience into children so they can become strong, emotionally intelligent grownups.
1. Let kids struggle
Morin says, “All kids have the ability to develop skills that will help them be resilient. As parents, it’s up to us to give them those skills, and to serve as a guide — to help them when they’re struggling with something and give them more opportunities to practice resiliency.”
2. Let kids experience rejection
“If your kid doesn’t get picked for the baseball team, it can be tempting to call the coach, call the schools, try to get your kid on the team. But failure can be one of the best opportunities to teach kids a life lesson.
That lesson: Failure is not the end of the road, you’re strong enough to handle failing, and that when you fail, you have choices.”
3. Don’t condone a victim mentality
“When kids say they are having a problem, it’s tempting for them to blame other people. They fail their science test and they say that their teacher didn’t explain it well enough.”
She suggests fighting the urge to side with your child. Instead, tell them life isn’t fair. Teach kids they are strong enough to to handle it.
4. Validate your kids’ emotions
“Parents can find that balance of knowing when to step back enough to let their child face some of their own battles, but at the same time, empathize.”
Teach them, and show them, it’s okay to talk about their feelings.
5. Teach kids to label their emotions
“When kids can label their emotions, they are less likely to act them out.
If your kid can say ‘I’m mad,’ he’s less likely to kick you in the shins to show you that he’s mad.”
Meaning, you’ll be raising an adult who can cope with anger and sadness.
6. Give kids tools to self-soothe hard feelings
Whether it’s a special coloring book or quiet game, giving a child a way to calm themselves down leads to less problems managing emotions as adults.
7. Admit your own mistakes and fix them
Kids learn critical coping skills when they see the adults in their lives own up to their screw-ups and fix them.
8. Connect kids’ self worth to effort
When we tell kids they accomplished something because they are naturally smart or talented, we diminish what’s really important.
“We want to teach kids that what matters is being honest, being kind, working hard. It’s really important to focus on their effort.
The kid who grows up knowing that it’s all about their effort, rather than their outcome, is going to be more resilient when they fail or when they get rejected.”
We all want our children to have the best childhoods and the most idyllic memories of growing up. But, the best gift we can give them is to let them feel the bumps and bruises of real life.
But that’s what we think… what do you think? Let us know in the comments!