If there’s one thing we all know, that is that life is full of hard knocks! It can throw curved balls at a great distance; some we see approaching and some we have no idea are on their way until they hit us and push us over! But our capacity to deal with these knocks, to recover from them and spring back from them is to a greater or lesser extent down to just how resilient we are. The dictionary definition of resilience is the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity, or 2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy and so developing a resilient tool kit in life is a key skill that can make all the difference and is one that, we as parents, need to be nurturing in our children from a very early age.
To some extent children are naturally resilient. You only need to look at a young child learning to walk to see nature’s resilient hand at work. They tumble and jump right back up! But emotionally through life as we become battered and bruised, and our emotional muscle becomes more and more bruised by events that happen, much akin to those who go to the gym or actively keep fit, keep muscles toned and flexible, the same is said for a resilient capacity within ourselves starting at an early age. The world is an unfair place but those who can adaptively manage their environment do not just essentially promote their own survival but also help get through as well. When the going gets tough it will be those who are resilient that help the others pull through. Children who have coped with adversity and become strong in the face of their challenges and daily struggles will be those who have built up the muscle of resilience in adulthood to go on to make a difference.
How though can adults help their children be more resilient?
* Love Unconditionally. Love who your children are and not what they are or what they do or do not do.
* Establish Strong Relationships with your children so that children have a secure, stable base.
* Identify Identity by helping children find out who they really are.
* Encourage Responsibility and Independence that is age-appropriate so that children are able to make good decisions and take the consequences for these decisions.
* Foster Focus to increase contribution by encouraging children to have an aim or a goal or maybe develop an intrinsic talent or nurture an area of interest
* Encourage Contribution by encouraging selfless generosity and volunteering.
* Practice Delayed Gratification by not subscribing to instant reward, children learn the value of appreciating their own self-worth and intrinsic centres of motivation.
* Allow Adversity supporting children when they come across adversity rather than shielding them from it.
* Allow Mistakes so that they can learn from them. Being able to recognize what mistakes are good for children to make and when to intervene is an essential skill in parenting.
* Show Social Justice so that children can stand up for their own rights by learning how to argue respectfully where appropriate.
Resilience then helps weather many storms from those that are observed to those that are experience, to those that shock at a distance to those that hurt and maim emotionally up close. In essence it is somewhat abstract and yet as a quality in our lives it is a force that can make a substantial difference and therefore the challenge to all parents is to take up the gauntlet to nurture our children to become more emotionally resilient.