Parenting Resilient Children

dandelion P1140733You’ve likely noticed that some children seem to be more resilient than others, overcoming difficult childhoods and dysfunctional relationships. As we highlighted in the post here on Tuesday, a new study labels these kids dandelions since they are able to thrive in less than inviting environs.

Here are 6 tips to help your kids become more resilient, whatever type of flower they represent:

Encourage them to make connections. Relationships can be a major source of support when times are tough and provide a safe home-base all the time. Family bonds create security and friendships can strengthen your child’s self-esteem.

Teach them to take care of themselves. Self-care is part of a healthy lifestyle, especially during stressful periods. Role model for your child how to achieve this – a balanced diet, regular exercise and free time for relaxation and enjoyment.

Inspire them to help others. Volunteering has a double positive effect – in addition to helping those in need, it increases feelings of control and power in the helper. And studies have shown that expressing gratitude for the benefits you’ve received promotes happiness and other positive feelings.

Urge them set goals and work towards them. By setting realistic goals and acting to attain them, step by step, your children will be building a pattern of how they react to challenges. Recognizing how they manage obstacles and recover from setbacks will help them develop resilience when they face other stumbling blocks.

Help them see the long-term perspective. Since your children do not yet have the benefit of your years of experience, it’s up to you to put the current problem into a broader context. You can facilitate expanding their viewpoint and reducing their stress.

Nurture optimism and positive self-esteem. Remind your children of how they have successfully handled difficulties in the past and that you believe they will continue to do well. Your trust will help them develop confidence in their own decisions and actions.

And for an update on the inspiring resilience of one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Jeff Bauman, this New York Times article is about how, despite the very real challenges he faces, the double amputee is learning to walk again with prosthetic legs.

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