While adulthood is filled with serious responsibilities, childhood isn’t exactly stress-free. Kids take tests, learn new information, change schools, change neighborhoods, get sick, get braces, encounter bullies, make new friends and occasionally get hurt by those friends.
What helps kids in navigating these kinds of challenges is resilience.
Resilient kids are problem solvers. They face unfamiliar or tough situations and strive to find good solutions. “When they step into a situation, resilient kids have a sense they can figure out what they need to do and can handle what is thrown at them with a sense of confidence,” said Lynn Lyons, LICSW. This doesn’t mean that kids have to do everything on their own. Rather, they know how to ask for help and are able to problem-solve their next steps.
Resilience isn’t birthright. It can be taught. Lyons encouraged parents to equip their kids with the skills to handle the unexpected, which actually contrasts our cultural approach. “We have become a culture of trying to make sure our kids are comfortable. We as parents are trying to stay one step ahead of everything our kids are going to run into.”
The problem? “Life doesn’t work that way.”
A parent’s job isn’t to be there all the time for their kids. It’s to teach them to handle uncertainty and to problem-solve. Below, Lyons shared her valuable suggestions for raising resilient kids.
-- Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.