How To Raise Resilient Kids

I’m no expert on child rearing. But being a substitute school teacher at all levels does give me an interest in the subject. So I’m always looking for good information about children’s behavior, and I’ve found something I think is worth passing on.

Amy Morin, LCSW, a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, has identified eight common practices of parents who raise resilient kids.  Here is her list, along with some of her quotes.

Let Kids Struggle — “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.”

Let Kids Experience Rejection — (I know all about this one.) “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.”

Don’t Condone a Victim Mentality — “When kids say they are having a problem, it’s tempting for them to blame other people…. Parents need to tell their kids that life isn’t fair but that they are strong enough to handle the unfairness.”

Do More Than Tell Them to ‘Buck Up’ When Struggles Occur — “You want to make sure that you validate their emotions and you empathize with them. 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.”

Help Kids Learn How to Label Their Feelings and 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.”

Give Kids The Tools to Self Soothe — “I know some parents who created a ‘calm down kit’ for their kid. They have a kit with a coloring book, and some Play-Doh, and lotion that smells good and they remind their kid to go get the kit when they’re upset.”

Admit Parenting Mistakes, Then Fix Them

Always Connect Kid’s Self Worth to Their Level of Effort — “There is research that shows that when girls succeed, we say, ‘You did well because you studied hard.’ But when boys succeed, we’ll say something like, ‘You did well on that test because you’re smart’…. When we focus too much on outcome, kids will cheat in high school because they think the most important thing in the world is getting an A, and it doesn’t matter how they get there. We want to teach kids that what matters is being honest, being kind, working hard. It’s really important to focus on their effort.”

I know parenting is very much an art, and I hope some of these practices resonate with you.

If you’d like to know more, read “Resilient Kids Come From Parents Who Do These 8 Things” by By Lizzy Francis ( ). The photo came from that site.

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