Published on Friday, December, 13, 2019
Written by Samah Salem*
It is a known fact that all individuals face different stressors throughout their lifetime. Stress is an important factor that may lead to mental disorders. As such, it is crucial to teach our children resiliency skills to ensure that they are able to withstand the hardships that face them.
Resilience is the ability to quickly recover from difficulties and challenges faced. Resilience is a skill that can be taught to children, and it is usually taught through our interactions with them. To teach your children resilience, make sure to follow these recommendations:
1- Instill positive thinking in your children. Children, especially when young, learn how the world should be perceived. Talking positively to your children and talking positively about the world helps children form positive and optimistic thinking.
2- Teach your children flexibility. Young children learn from observation; make sure to model to your children that you are flexible enough to try new things. Encourage your children to try different foods and activities. Teach children that people are different and have different perspectives, cultures, opinions, and values.
3- Make responsibility an important value. Teach your children that they are responsible for their actions, both positive and negative. Everyone makes mistakes, and owning up to one’s mistake teaches children that they are responsible for their own outcomes. When they are feeling bad, ask them, “What can you do to feel better?” or ask them what they learned from their experience. Teach them agency and that they are responsible for their own decisions.
4- Allow your children to express their emotions. Teach your children from a young age to label and express their emotions. Teach them to express their wants, preferences, and needs.
5- Look at the positive side. Teach your child to be optimistic by helping them see the positive in every situation. When children develop this skill, they become better able to respond to change, illness, or any challenge they might face.
6- Set balanced expectations. Setting very high expectations will make children feel like failures when they do not achieve what was expected. Setting more balanced expectations makes children feel more confident.
7- Help your children develop skills. Help children find something they love to do; allow them to experience different activities and hobbies until they find something they love, and teach them these skills.
8- Share success stories with your children. Expose your kids to inspiring and motivational people who have achieved their goals despite many challenges. Share your own experiences of times when you were able to overcome struggles and achieve success.
9- Give your children agency. Tell your children that they have choices in every situation in the way they react, the way they feel, and the way they respond. Explain that the difference between people is the way they react to similar situations.
10- Remind your kids to be grateful. Allow your children to see the positives in their lives and be grateful for them. Gratitude allows individuals to be more optimistic.
11- Let your children be in control by rewarding themselves. Children nowadays are so used to obtaining reinforcements from other people; teach your children to reward themselves for what they achieve and help them develop intrinsic motivation.
12- Talk to your children about making a difference in the world. Having a purpose increases resilience; teach your children that their actions matter and affect others.
13- Remind your children that everything happens for a reason. Make sure to model your trust in God and His plan; teach your children to have Tawakul. Tell your children that whatever happens, it happens because there is good in it.
Hopefully these suggestions would help you raise more resilient and capable children who are able to withstand the many struggles of this world.
*Samah Salem is currently a school counselor for primary, elementary, and middle years and a private clinical psychologist.