What do I mean by Resilience?
All children regardless of their age are capable of working through challenges, and coping with stress, when given the right tools. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from failures, stress, trauma or even adversity. This is not something that children either have or don’t have – it is a skill that they develop as they grow from their experiences, and support from their adults.
Parental Advice (Parent Teachers):
Previous to me becoming a Resilience Coach and NLP Practitioner, I worked as a Primary Teacher in Spain and in the United Kingdom. Throughout my career, I noticed more and more than children were beginning to lose their strength in resilience or not have as much resilience to face the challenges and situations in which they as children were encountering with.
What I mean by resilience is the ability to have mental toughness! In today’s society, the millennium, parents are faced which much more challenges, demands and pressures -both as parents themselves and in ensuring the best for their child’s wellbeing.
Of course, every parent wants the very best for their children without a doubt, however in so doing there is a tendency that they might be overly spoon-feeding and over protecting them from failures which in turn, hinder their children reaching their full potential! Without a doubt it is natural that as parents they want to shelter and protect their children from bad experiences and situations in order to make them happy. A natural human parental instinct!
The problem with this, is that some of these behaviours are more likely to be symptoms of over-protection. Furthermore, this can also be a result of parents just simply not having the time, for numerous reasons – This of course is another issue in its self which I will discuss in another article. Let’s get back to over-protections. For instance:
- being overly concerned with the child’s well-being or academic grades;
- trying to solve all of the child’s problems or school homework;
- discouraging your child from doing things that might lead to possible failures;
- being overly supportive or sympathetic when things don’t go as planned.
I came across this so often, time and time again within the educational sector – this has shown to have long detrimental effects on children’s mental and emotional wellbeing from such an early age on, leading onto later on in life. Signs become fairly evident when children are at their last stages of the primary years and going into secondary schools. The pressures of failures within the teens years is much higher and more so concerning.
Evidence shows that: DATA TO BE ENTERED HERE MHFA ENGLAND
Children need to learn to be childrenand should be allowed to experience difficulties and failures of all kinds and have the parents there along-side to explain, guide and support the child’s understanding. Not wrapping them up in cotton wool! Life is not perfect and we all know that and as parents your role is to equip the children with the skills, knowledge and understanding of how to tackle different situations in life, which will then enable them to evolve into a mentally strong and stable individual that will able to deal with failing with a much more positive outlook.
The question I ask you: Are you an over-protective parent? What makes you an over-protective parent? Have you ever asked yourself what the effects would be on your child(ren) if you are over-protective and don’t allow them to experience resilience by strengthening their own independence. As a parent/carer, it about finding the balance!
So, if you are, according to the Universities of Harvard and Stanford they state that “your children are failure deprived.” When they grow up to be young adults, failure deprived children are (a) more likely to be unable to deal with setbacks or disappointments faced in the real world, and (b) may subsequently lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression.
So, what is the solution to this? Is there a solution? Of course, there is. There is always a solution!
Let your children fail. And let them fail often. There is no such thing as failure if you really look at it, but only feedback and learning, which I call GROWTH. We as humans learn from our mistakes. Of course, as parent you don’t want children to encounter (the same) failures and disappointments (as we once did) but if you don’t allow them to have these experiences then how will they ever learn. The most important element is, as long as the children are not in immediate danger or risk then “Why not let them have a go?”
Children need to learn how to pick themselves up – bounce back from disappointments, mistakes, setbacks, and failures. This will enable them to become all-rounders…
“Practical tips you can consideration:”
- Play competitive sports or activities: Studies show that starting from an earlier age that teenagers who play sport are mentally tougher than those who don’t! Sport is a great place for dealing with “organized failure, team failure, individual failure”, helping them develop a better understanding and importantly a resilience. This has to be a nurturing process which comes from the adult’s involvement.
- Treat failure and success the same:Both have lessons to be learned. Failure is just as important as success, in fact I feel that in my experience, experiencing the failures has driven me to succeed developing a bigger toughness. Failures and disappointments are part of life. Ask them:what did youlearn from every experience, win or lose; what could you do to change or better those experiences; what would have happened if you hadn’t encountered that failure and imagine what could be?
- Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences of failures (as well as success):Sharing is the greatest experience ever that can inspire your child(ren). Let your children know that you too have experienced failures and still do. This will help encourage them and to let them know that they can also work through their own setbacks. There is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is not a reality, it is only ones’ feeling of satisfaction, if at all. Perfection comes from the lack of self-belief – in comparison with others. Failures lead children to compare with others. However, this has to been taught and learnt to be done in a positive way, through the support and guidance of adults.
- Be there for them (which we as parents know we are) acknowledging these failures as positives: Experiencing failure is tough. Failure is a learnt negative belief and this mindset needs to be altered so that overtime this becomes a positive belief. So, be a social support for them if they need a listening ear – give them space and time to vent (where and when needed). Listen to the language used by your child(ren).
- Making connections: Through teaching your child how to make friends, including the skills of empathy, or feeling another people’s pain. Encourage your child to be a friend is crucial in order to get friends. Build a strong family network to support your child through their inevitable disappointments and hurts. Connecting with people provides social support and strengthens resilience. At school or regular play clubs, pay attention to make sure that one child is not being isolated.
- Help your child by having them help others: Children who may feel helpless can really feel empowered by helping others. Have discussions with children about ways in which they can help others in all different circumstances.
- Teaching your child self-care: This is really important and will serve them throughout their life. Be a great role model yourself – teach your child the importance of making time to eat healthy, exercise, relax and keep up with the things they love doing. Make sure your child has time to have fun, as they will never get their childhood back. So, ensure that your child(ren) has not scheduled every single moment of their life with no “down time” to relax. Caring for oneself and even having fun will help your child(ren) stay balanced and better deal with stressful times.
- Nurturing a positive self-view: Help your child remember ways that he/she has successfully overcome hardship challenges in the past – then help them to understand that these past challenges help him/her to build the strength to handle future challenges. Help and support your child(ren) to learn to trust them-self to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Teaching your child to see the humour in life is a fantastic tool, and the ability to laugh at one’s self. At school, help children see how their individual accomplishments contribute to the wellbeing of the class as a whole – That everything they have to say and be is as valuable as the child next to them. Encourage them to understand that they are unique, and each has individual qualities which are different from others.
- Look for opportunities for self-discovery: Allowing a child to this is amazing and can open up so many possibilities and learning about themselves. Tough times are often the times when children learn the most about themselves. Help your child to take a look at how whatever he/she is facing – you can then teach him/her “what he/she is made of.” At school, consider leading discussions of what each pupil has learned after facing down a tough, difficult or awkward situation.
- Move toward your goals: Teaching your child to set reasonable goals is important, not setting them too high which leads to constant disappointment. It is the smaller steps towards their goals which will inspire and arouse their motivation and ‘purpose.’ Moving toward that goal – even if it’s a tiny step – and receiving praise and celebrate, for doing so will focus your child on what he/she has accomplished rather than on what hasn’t been accomplished. This can help to build the resilience to move forward in the face of challenges. Talking of ‘purpose’ it is important that they understand this word. Why they want it and why they do it? This encompass’ the child’s values and identity. and then to move toward them one step at a time. At school teachers can break down large assignments into small, more achievable goals for younger children, and for older children, acknowledge accomplishments on the way to larger goals.
- Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook:Crucial, even when your child is facing very painful events, help him/her look at the situation in a much broader context – keep a long-term perspective. Even though, your child may be too young to consider a longer-term look on his/her own, helping see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good. This can be done visually by getting them to draw pictures, writing, building scenes etc… An optimistic and positive outlook will enable your child(ren) to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest times. In school, using history or PSHE/ special time to show that life moves on after bad events.
- Accept that change is part of living:Accepting change can be hard but it is possible. Change often can be scary for children and young people but through helping your child see that change is part of life; new goals can replace goals that have become unattainable. In school, teachers need to point out how students have changed as they moved up in each year and discuss how that change has had an impact on the pupils.
- Take a break:While sticking to routines, are important, endlessly worrying can be counter-productive. Teach your child how to focus on something besides what’s worrying him/her. Become more aware of what your child is exposed to that can be troubling, whether it be news, the Internet or overheard conversations, friendship groups, and make sure your child takes a break from those things if they trouble him/her. This is a biggy!!! For teachers. Although schools are being held accountable for performance on standardized tests and scores, build in unstructured time during the school day to allow children to be creative and just be children. The pressures are far to immense and this can translate to home pressures as well. After all every parent wants their child(ren) to do well but not at the expense of their mental and emotional well-being.
“There is no such thing as FAILURE, there is only FEEDBACK!”
F = First
A = Attempt
I = is
L = Learning
The whole idea about failures as well as many disappointing things in life, is to“Reframe”the thought, feeling, behaviour and/or situation. Look at it from a different perspective/point of view. I call it, as do many: “The Fly On The Wall.”
The key to remember here is that mindset changes needs to begin at an early age and as parents/carers you need to be consistent if progress and positive outcomes are to be achieved.
I hope that this article has inspired and given you some great pointers which you can begin to consider and use. If you wish your child(ren) to go deeper to explore and build resilience on their failures/difficulties, confidence issues, communication and social skills, then please do get in touch. Arrange a free consultation with no obligations.