Building Resilience in Children
How to Make Your Child Ready for the Big Bad World Out There.
Do you at times as a parent often look at your child’s innocent eyes and question yourself on how you are going to make these kids sensitive yet sensible, fearless yet cautious, successful yet grounded?
As adults, we come across innumerable instances where our intellectual, mental, and emotional health comes under tremendous pressure. It's during catastrophic situations like these that we understand how important it is to remain gritty and show our kids the same.
Now the question is how do we make our little humans gritty or resilient yet carefree and joyous?
Every parent wants to provide all the comforts to their child but deep down we still want them to have the emotional, mental and physical capability to handle crises with ease and come out as winners.
This is where grit comes into play.
Here is a brilliant quote by Mary Holloway which goes like this “Resilience is knowing that you are the only one who has the power and responsibility to pick yourself up”.
Yes! You read that right and don’t you think this little formula applies to us adults as well?
So here are some of the most brilliant techniques by which we as parents can assure that our children grow up to be gritty and wise.
- Put Your Child’s Interests first:
No parent wants to develop children as robots! All of us want our children to be successful but we restrict them in our boundaries and don’t let them flourish for the fear of failure and the impending societal pressure of being “good parents”.
If only we could wholly see our children as individuals who are unattached to us and merely as humans, we will be able to acknowledge their core capabilities and let them discover their true interests and aspirations.
Remember your childhood when you wanted to be a pilot but your parents clipped your wings and put you in engineering instead?
Don’t let history repeat itself. Give them experiences and let them explore their inherent interest and in no time they will bloom and happily persist to make their dreams a reality, with all the resilience needed.
- Gain Knowledge and Wisdom:
Always remember that children can’t understand what to do and how hard they should work and when to give up, this is where your role as a parent comes into the picture. When the child is exploring his or her possibilities in life it is imperative that the parent himself/herself has upped his game and gained knowledge to guide them.
Learn about things that interest them and find ways to add to their knowledge and help them out whenever needed.
You have to keep your armor ready with love, limits, and wisdom so that when the need arises you can give them the gift of perspective.
- Set High Expectations
To set high expectations from your kids without being authoritarian needs ”Tough Love”.
“Tough love” is a mix of showing immense love, affection, and respect to your kids and at the same time expecting high standards from them. Though it may seem confusing, in reality, a parent can strike a balance between giving the child a push when needed and giving them insight if they are falling.
So where do we draw the line between being strict and being lenient? The answer is quite simple, anything that you do to your child that you wouldn’t do to another human being is crossing the line. Would you shout or use harsh words towards another human? No!
But when it comes to our “own” children we live by the belief that they “belong” to us, so we can do as we please. In reality many a time they become convenient choices for us to remove our frustrations and anger. We forget their age and expect them to be little adults.
If you are ever in dilemma about whether you are going in the right direction with your kids then here’s an incredible checklist that will always keep you on course with your parenting:
- Spend time talking to your kids: It doesn't necessarily have to be on a specific topic. Sometimes it's the unplanned mundane conversations that make your child realize that you are there to hear them out whenever the need arises.
- Spend time doing kid stuff: Giggling, laughing, acting out, and making funny faces, playing different games with toys such as: Learning and educational toys, Recreational and backyard plays, Sports and outdoor plays, wooden toys, etc. will make them feel equal to you and make you their buddies.
- Ask for their opinion on things and if it can work out their way then do it! This will give them the faith that their ideas will never be turned down without an ear and this will help you to be part of the BIG decisions in their lives.
- Let them make decisions for themselves: You don’t want them to be insecure individuals who keep questioning their every decision and live in self-doubt.
If it is as little as choosing which shirt or dress to wear or what toy to buy, give them the space and be on the sidelines and guide them when asked for! You will soon see them turning into confident individuals who are secure and have clarity of thought.
Bringing up children is a big responsibility and today's parents realize that parenting can be learned. Resilience is the art of listening to your inner voice and staying there till the end.
Whenever your inner compass goes off direction, remember this quote by Peggy O’Mara “ The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”.
Make sure their inner conversation is filled with warmth, ambition, self-love, happiness, and security.
Dhanya calls herself an impatient inquisitive seeker. She is an engineer mom who has learned motherhood on the job and implemented techniques by reading innumerable books and through research.