How To Teach Children How to Cope and Be Resilient

How To Teach Children How to Cope and Be Resilient

Parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analystReena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) shares with MNI Media how to teach children how to develop skills of resiliency below:

Helping your child build resiliency with the emotional ups and downs during this pandemic

Building Resilency 
  • Resiliency will really help children cope and adhere to the challenges they are face. 
  • Resilient children are more likely to take healthy risks because they don’t fear falling short of expectations. For example, taking a risk and cold calling a virtual volunteer opportunity. These children are also curious, brave, and trusting of their instincts. Therefore, will respond better to new ways of learning. This includes remote learning and unexpressed changes. Children who are resilient can push themselves to step outside of their comfort zones. This helps them reach for their long-term goals and it helps them solve problems independently.
Expressing emotions and having an outlet to do so
  • As parents, what is the first thing we do when our child cries? We say “don't cry”. Children need to have an outlet to express their feelings.
  • Younger children need to be able to identify what those feelings are. Of course, you do not want your child to have inappropriate responses to situations, but allow for them to have a safe space to let their feelings out
  • As parents remember to lean in and validate and empathize. 
  • Maybe your child wants to step away and be by themselves or squeeze a pillow. As long as they have an outlet that is there for them, we are supporting their needs. As parents, 
  • We will often feel every bump, bruise, fall or fail. It can be heartbreaking when they struggle or miss out on something they want.
The importance of consistency
 
As parents, we need to be consistent across the board. If we say we are going to allow for something contingent upon completion of a task, we need to follow through. So many times, we tell our children 5 minutes and I will be right there to play with you and the 5 minutes becomes 30 min to an hour. 
 
Realistic Expectations. 
  • Don’t over stretch your personal expectations of your child. Understand where they are at and be realistic when it comes to academic, emotional and self-help growth. 
  • When the goals are attainable, your child will more likely comply because of the success of the outcomes. Remember to build feelings of competence and a sense of mastery
Allow for mistakes
  •  In fact, the child you call a “perfectionist” is one who research shows will grow up anxious. 
  • Fear of failure children  tend to be highly anxious children. .
  • This causes risk avoidance. Embracing mistakes (your own included) helps promote a growth mindset and gives kids the message that mistakes help them learn. 
  • When children watch you tackle a mistake and get up and try again, this shows your child how to problem solve.
Learning to problem solve
  • By modeling how you handle downfalls and work through dilemmas allows your child to know mistakes are ok and see how you build up to the poutine you want. 
  • We all need help sometimes, and it’s important for kids to know they have help. 
  • Brainstorm possible solutions with your child.
  •  Encourage your child to come up with a list of ideas and weigh the pros and cons of each one.

Coping with stress and worries

  • If I could give anything to a child, it would be coping skills. 
  • Life is and will be full of downs. We have to be realistic and teach our children that there are ways to cope with stressful situations. Resilience helps kids navigate these stressful situations. 
  • A child who is resilient has the confidence to confront their worries. 
  • As parents we need to show them ways they can cope. 
  • Even as young as 3, children should begin to learn techniques to navigate through everyday stressors. 
  • For example, in my book Winnie & Her Worries, I show how a Worry Box can help or the use of positive affirmations. 

Don't jump in a try and rescue

  •  It's natural for parents to rush to the rescue and give an answer or problem to solve a challenge. 
  • However, when will our children learn to navigate real life challenges if we are always there to fix their problems?  A
  •  better strategy is to actively listen and ask questions. Help your child think through the issue and come up with solutions to try.