Fall Down 7 Times Stand Up 8: Raising Resilient Kids

 Albert Einstein once said I am not necessarily smarter, I just stick with the problem longer than anyone else.  It can be difficult to watch your child muddle through a problem on her own, particularly when we, as the adult, have the know-how and resources to solve it quickly. 

We believe our help will ease her pain and frustration, and that this in turn will foster esteem.   The reality is if we step in with our solutions each time our child faces a bump, we are sabotaging resiliency and reinforcing the feeling that she is not capable of solving it on her own.  Instead of fostering esteem, it fosters passivity:  someone else can do it better, faster, smarter than me. 

Feeling left out socially, problem solving at school, or learning a new activity, asks each of us to let of certainties, of things we are good at, and stretch for answers over and over again when they elude us.  The only way to develop lifelong tools for resiliency and creative problem solving is with practice, and the home is the seedbed of practice.

                      TEN WAYS TO DEVELOP RESILIENCY:

1.     Do not hover over your child when he is learning a new skill, practice benign neglect

2.     Wait to help with a problem until your child asks

3.     Brainstorm together then let her choose the solution

4.     Allow failure;  it plays an integral role in problem solving

5.     Do not offer feedback until you are asked (all feedback, even positive, is judgement)

6.     Allow boredom in your child’s life!  Have resource boxes in your home (art, inventor’s, dress-up) where the activities are open ended and have no instructions

7.     Believe your child has the ability to solve a problem and say so out loud

8.     Do not second guess or shortcut your child’s attempts at problem solving

9.     Allow the bumps and skinned knees of adventure.  They are common when one lives a big life

          10.  Encourage relationships with other adults

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