Do you know how to build resilience in children? All parents want their children to have a bright future. And we know resilience is the key to success.
However, most parents only focus on the academic achievement of their children. They don’t put much effort in children’s positive emotional and behavioural development.
In this article, I will cover the following to help avoid some common parenting mistakes that prevent building resilience in children:
- Promote the responsibility of your kids
- Don’t feel guilty and give in to kids’ demands
- Don’t let your child think the world revolves around her
- Don’t intervene every time your child make a mistake
- Don’t shelter your child from pain
- Don’t prevent your kids from experiencing negative emotions
- Understand the difference between discipline and punishment
- Final Thoughts
Promote the Responsibility of Your Kids
As parents, you may know how to help your child to be physically fit. But what about mental or emotional well-being?
Actually, nothing is more important than learning to be mentally strong and hence become resilient. If your child is mentally strong, it means he can bounce back from setbacks and face difficulties without fear.
To raise a resilient child, you have to be mentally strong yourself. Many parents tend to defend their children whenever they have been wronged. It encourages the feeling of victimhood. Instead you should empower your child to handle challenges himself.
Moreover, parents shouldn’t let their children avoid responsibility. You should hold your child accountable and face the consequence of his actions. But most parents do the opposite, they encourage children to blame others for their problems.
Also, you should assign household responsibilities to your child. Research shows that children who have to do chores are more likely to become successful, empathetic and self-reliant.
Sociologist Seven Horwitz pointed out that children need to practise resolving conflict on their own instead of relying on adults to intervene.
Don’t Feel Guilty and Give in to Kids’ Unreasonable Demands
If you think you are not a good parent, you are not alone. Research shows that 94% of mothers have “mommy guilt”.
Having too much anxiety about being a bad parent can lead to wrong parenting decisions. Because parents tend to give in to children’s demands when they feel guilty.
For example, a father has a son with 100 pounds overweight. Because the father felt guilty when his son begged and cried for eating junk food. But the father later realised if he cannot tolerate the short-term guilt of limiting his son’s diet, he will regret it when his son’s health continues to deteriorate.
Therefore, parents should manage their guilt. If the feeling of guilt is not warranted, parents should learn to change. Not buying your child a new pair of sneakers does not mean your child will be hurt.
Moreover, you should encourage your child to step outside their comfort zone. Let your kid learn self-reliance. Overprotective parenting can result in “boomerang kids”, who aren’t equipped for adulthood and cannot survive on their own.
A good parent should teach kids the skills they need to flourish instead of protecting them from the outside world.
Don’t Let Your Child Think The World Revolves Around Her
Many parents spoil their children, making their kids think they are the centre of the world.
You should give your child confidence but not a sense of entitlement. Otherwise it will lead to poor empathy and perpetual dissatisfaction.
For example, Carol and Tom doted on their daughter Brittany. They gave Brittany everything she wanted. As a result, Brittany was regarded as a “mean girl at school as Brittany becomes self-centered and lacks empathy.
Instead, what you should do is to teach your child the importance of humility and gratitude. For example, you can have your child talk about what they are grateful for every day.
Experiencing the feelings of awe can also give your child a new perspective of the world.
Research shows that if you give your child opportunities to experience awe like seeing a natural wonder or visit a dinosaur exhibit, it will help remind your child there’s something greater in this world.
Don’t Intervene Every Time Your Child Makes a Mistake
The old adage said,” A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure?” Many parents wrongly believe this and give their kids a lot of pressure. They want their children to succeed where they failed.
This can actually be harmful to your child’s mental health. Developing the belief of perfectionism can have deadly consequences. A study reveals that 70% of boys aged 12-25 commit suicide because of excessive pressure.
Therefore, you should never ask your child to strive for perfection. Excellence is enough. Also, don’t criticize your kids too much.
Having a praise-criticism-praise sandwich is good. For example, you can say, “Good job cleaning your room! I noticed that you didn’t fold your t-shirt before putting them away, but you made the bed very well.”
Helicopter parents are those who push for perfection and micromanage everything of their child. Those children are usually not resilient enough to bounce back from failures.
In fact, children with helicopter parents are more prone to depression and have physical health issues. Because they cannot take care of their emotional and physical needs on their own.
Therefore, you should help your child learn and grow from mistakes. Share your personal story of failing and recovering from failure to show that making mistakes is just a process to success.
Don’t Shelter Your Child from Pain
It’s natural for parents to protect their children from discomfort and pain. But if you don’t let your children experience pain, it sends a message that your children are fragile and cannot cope with stresses in life.
Instead, you should let them learn to cope with stresses such as parents separating. That can actually help children to build self-esteem and problem-solving skills. They will recognise themselves being capable, competent and resilient.
Kids who don’t learn to manage pain will end up spending their whole lives avoiding difficulties.
Sometimes, it’s fine for kids to experience pain so that they can learn from it. It can also enhance their senses of recognising pleasure by contrast. They will be more empathetic and understand the world better.
Don’t Prevent Your Kids from Experiencing Negative Emotions
Many parents avoid talking about the subjects that may trigger negative feelings of kids. They don’t want their kids to experience sadness or hurt.
In fact, you should allow your child to build his mental and emotional muscles by experiencing different emotions. It’s not possible to avoid boredom, guilt, disappointment or frustration in life.
Therefore, you should coach your kids to deal with his emotions when he is still young. That actually prevents your kid from falling prey to unhealthy habits when facing challenges in life later.
So how can you enhance your kid’s emotional intelligence? You can try to help your child identify his emotions and take responsibility for them.You can talk about your own feelings and ask your child to elaborate. You should also encourage your kid to describe how he feels with more descriptive vocabulary.
And to help your child to cheer up after feeling upset, you can teach your kid to write a list of things that make him feel happy. You can also brainstorm some healthy ways to control his mood. That will promote self-awareness so that he can manage emotion effectively.
Understand the Difference Between Discipline and Punishment
Raising a child is not easy. You need a lot of energy. Sometimes, you may be tempted to use the easiest and quickest way to force your child to behave: yelling or harsh punishment.
But harsh punishments such as spanking can have a huge impact on your child’s mentality in the future.
Study proves that it will create a lot of behavioural problems and mental health issues of your child. Children being yelled at and humiliated will become sophisticated liars and poor decision-makers.
In fact, you should differentiate punishment from discipline. Healthy discipline should focus on learning and improving. You should teach your child to persevere to achieve a goal, instead of avoiding punishment.
A parent should be like a good leader. A good leader should always set clear expectations, which follow with consistent rules and logical consequences.
So having a specific and thoughtful reward system can help improve your child’s discipline in a healthy way.
Another thing that parents should avoid is quick fixes. We tend to take shortcuts to temporarily relieve stress and put off dealing with the problem.
That actually signals to the child that it’s good to take shortcuts when facing difficult circumstances.
Instead, you should teach your child the importance of persistence. Guide your child to set a goal and follow through.
Taking care of a kid is not an easy task, so it’s important for parents to take care of themselves too. Parents should make time to recharge energy and relax in order to make the best choices in raising a child.
Parenting is not an easy job. Building resilience in children is more difficult.
In order to be a positive role model for your child, you have to work on your own habits. That way, you can have a positive influence on your child.
Moreover, make sure you don’t send conflicting messages to your child. Your action and your value should match.
Last but not least, you shouldn’t be too protective about your child. Letting your child to experience failure, pain and all kinds of difficulties such that they can become resilient and stand on their own feet.