Stress is an inevitable part of life. No person, no matter how gifted, wealthy or optimistic, can ever claim to be totally free from stress.
In moderate or manageable amounts, stress can improve concentration or focus, boost confidence and improve one’s stress management strategies.
However, in real life, we have no way of predicting how much stress is coming, in what form and the extent of the damage it would cause. This is where resilience comes in.
Resilience refers to a person’s ability to handle stressors, big and small, manage problems, bounce back from failures and move forward and continue with resolve. Without it, one can brood, develop anxiety and even fall into a deep gloom.
This is why developing resilience as early as possible is crucial to improving your children’s life chances. Resilient children are not only flexible and able to cope with changes – even ones they find unpleasant – but are also more confident in themselves and optimistic about the future.
Resilience is a trait that grows and is nurtured from within.
As a parent who wants to play an active role in moulding the character of your children so they are better prepared for what’s coming, there are a couple of ideas shared here that can help. And since resilience is something children can learn, the earlier you start teaching them, the better.
There are many ways to cultivate resilience in your children. The following are just a few examples:
Help them develop a strong sense of who they are. Encourage them to get to know themselves. Ask them to list down their strengths and things about themselves they wish to improve. This exercise will help them not only appreciate themselves better but also set self-improvement goals.
Encourage them to form a strong offline social network. This includes their real friends and adults they trust, such as their teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitter, etc. These people help provide the support and encouragement kids need to achieve things and overcome their failures.
Teach your children about the permanence of change. Tell them that change, like problems, is part of life. Besides, not all changes are bad, and some changes that may seem unpleasant at first (e.g., moving to a new neighbourhood or trying nutritious food) can lead to better things.
Assist your children in developing creative problem-solving skills. Teach them how to reframe a problem and see it from different points of view. Then help them develop various alternative solutions. Ask them to choose a solution and explain their choice. So, this exercise is not just about problem-solving but also about making careful decisions and owning up to your choices.
Empathise with them. Like them, you were once a child and a teenager. Encourage them to confide in you and reassure them that their feelings are valued and safe with you. Talk to them about your own experiences so they know that you know and understand their plight. Doing this will not only foster trust and respect but also help them develop empathy for others.
Try doing these things with your kids.
Gradually introduce them and expand as your children respond positively to your efforts.
It’ll take time, effort and patience, but there’s nothing more important than knowing whatever happens to you, your children’s resilience will see them through.