How to build resilient kids
I've taken this article from the Plenty Valley International Montessori school newsletter, as I think there's some really valuable ideas in this. The article was written by Lauran Skidmore, the Learning Support and Pastoral Care Coordinator at the school.
Resiliency Robbers by Michael Grose
Michael Grose is one of Australia’s leading parent educators. He has come up with 7 “Resiliency Robbers”, as he calls them. As Parents we sometimes do these to attempt to create the best environment for our children. Over parenting is simply a result of wanting the best for them. It is important to allow our children to develop resilience and strategies to cope when things don’t go their way.
Robber # 1:
Fight all their battles for them.
Nothing wrong with going into bat when kids struggle or meet with difficulty inside or outside school but make sure this is the last resort, not the first option.
Resilience notion # 1:
Give kids the opportunity to develop their own resourcefulness.
Robber # 2:
Make their problem, your problem.
Sometimes parents can take too much responsibility for issues that are really up to children to work out or decide. Here’s a clue if you are wondering what I am talking about: a jumper is something a mother puts on her son when she is cold!
Resilience notion # 2:
Make their problem, their problem.
Robber # 3:
Give kids too much voice.
In this era of giving children a voice it is easy to go overboard and allow them too much of a say in what happens to them. Kids often take the easy option to avoid hard or unpleasant situations.
Resilience notion # 3:
Make decisions for kids and expect them to adjust and cope.
Robber # 4:
Put unrealistic or relentless pressure on kids to perform.
Expectations about success and achievement are important. Too low and kids will meet them too easily. Too high and kids can give up. Too much and kids can experience anxiety.
Resilience notion # 4:
Keep expectations in line with children’s abilities and don’t put excessive pressure on them.
Robber # 5:
Let kids give in too easily.
Resilient learners link success with effort. They don’t give up because they don’t like a teacher or when confronted with multi-step or more complex activities. Similarly they don’t bail out of a sporting term half way through the season because the team is not winning or they are not enjoying it.
Resilience notion # 5:
Encourage kids to complete what they have started even if the results aren’t perfect.
Robber # 6:
Neglect to develop independence.
Don’t wait until they are teenagers to develop the skills of independent living. Start early and promote a broad skill set so that they can look after themselves if you are not around.
Resilience notion # 6:
Don’t routinely do for kids what they can do for themselves.
Robber # 7:
Rescue kids from challenging or stretch situations.
There are many times kids are put in situations that are outside their comfort zones for a time. For instance, giving a talk, singing at the school concert or going on school camp may be challenges for some kids. They are all situations that kids usually cope with so show your confidence in them and skill them up rather than opt for avoidance.
Resilience notion # 7:
Overcoming challenges enables kids to grow and improve.
Sometimes the manageable hardships that children experience such as a friend moving away, not being invited to a party or completing a difficult school project are fabulous learning opportunities. They help kids to stretch and grow. Dealing with them effectively also teaches kids that they are capable of coping when they meet some of life’s curve balls. That is a huge lesson to learn at any age!!
Get the latest posts straight to your inbox every week!