Sunday, November 11, 2007

Raising Resilient Children

Raising Resilient Children

Resilience comes in many forms. As a child, I was emotionally traumatised, bereaved at a young age when my father died, and from age 7 lived rough on the streets on and off for years, often with nowhere to stay and only eating thanks to the generosity of strangers.

Those experiences taught me to be very resilient in some ways, BUT that obviously is a bad way to learn resilience.

How can we, in a safe, loving and nurturing environment, gently teach children to be resilient? Research into optimism indicates that having an optimistic outlook on life tends to protect children from depression both during the critical and difficult teenage years and later in life - not to mention during childhood - childhood depression is becoming alarmingly common.

The basic way to help kids to be optimistic and resilient:

* Encourage children to appreciate and value their talents, abilities and achievements. Rather than putting good things that happen down to just "luck", emphasize how your child's efforts contribute to a successful outcome, whether at school or in a hobby or sport.

* When your child experiences a setback, encourage him to see this as temporary and NOT reflecting a lack of ability in himself. In other words, the child should be learning to take credit for his successes but NOT to blame himself for setbacks or "bad" things.

This attitude to life may sound a little pollyanna or unrealistic, but research does show that this is the belief system of people who successfully bounce back from life's problems.

Happy parenting


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