Resilience is the ability to endure through challenging circumstances. It is not a birthright, and it can be taught.
Resilient teens are problem solvers. They face unfamiliar or tough situations and work to find good solutions. In essence, they can handle what life throws at them with a sense of confidence which will be carried through into adult life.
To teach our children to 'OVERCOME' and hence learn resilience there are important strategies we can use as parents.
Here are 10 ways we can teach resilience:
1. TEACH RESOLUTIONS RATHER THAN RESCUING.
Don't rescue children through difficult emotional situations. Engage them in the problem-solving solutions. Guide them to finding a resolution to a fall out with friends, a misunderstanding, an argument. Allowing them to present their ideas helps teach what works and what doesn't.
2. TEACH ENDURANCE.
Developing physical endurance is one method of teaching emotional endurance. Don't rescue a child out of school sport because 'they don't want to play', or 'don't want to do it'. Some of the greatest lessons they can learn come through difficult situations or ones they didn't want to do. Discuss with them before some goals, ie 'I just want to get to the finish line', or 'I am going to beat my own personal best'. Success does not have to be measured by how well they do compared to their peers - this is an excellent opportunity to teach it.
3. TRANSLATE PHYSICAL CHALLENGES INTO EMOTIONAL SURVIVAL.
Surviving tough, physical challenges speaks to a child of "I did it". The neuropathways created in the child's brain recreate thought patterns when fear presents itself at a later stage and can cross transfer into emotionally challenging situations. It speaks of "I can', rather than "I can't". Open the door to some tough physical challenges, eg cycling or walking to school (yes even in the rain!), the Duke of Edinburgh Award, training for sports teams, entering an 'event' etc.
4. TEACH PROBLEM-SOLVING.
Show your child that they can solve their problems themselves and when one pops up don't do what we all do so well to save time -ie jump in and do it for them! Get out a piece of paper and strategise with them both positive and negative ways to move ahead.
5. USE INSPIRATION.
Inspire them through the success stories of others who have survived difficult life situations - Youtube is not short of ones that will cause a few tears to be shed!
6. USE DISCERNMENT.
Discern what adult problems need to be hidden to protect your child. Sharing every challenge you face may cause anxiety, whereas hiding or denying problems can create a false sense of security. Be realistic and choose a problematic situation to share where you can show how you approached a solution. If your children see you overcome, they too can learn to master the same technique.
7. TEACH RESPONSIBILITY.
Don't set an example of blaming others. Doing so teaches that we have no responsibility in what we say, how we react or what we do. There is a famous saying, 'We cannot change situations, but by changing ourselves, the situations themselves change.'
8. TEACH OWNERSHIP:
I own my thoughts. If I choose to look for the bad in a situation, then that is a choice I make. I can also search for the good in EVERY situation in order to learn and grow. CHOICE can empower or disempower depending on whether we own our thoughts or allow others to control them.
9. ASK 'HOW' QUESTIONS.
When your child needs help, or finds themselves stuck, use the 'HOW' word. How will you solve this? How did this happen? How do you see a solution coming about?
10. TEACH TO APOLOGISE.
We all get it wrong. When we as parents apologise and explain that we got it wrong we teach our children that they too will get things wrong. Resilience is about admitting it and moving on.