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2020 Parenting Resolution: Teaching Resiliency

It’s a new year, and that means new goals. When the beginning of the year rolls around, we spend time considering, “how do we want our children to grow this year?” For 2020, we’re thinking a lot about resiliency. The world is a tough place, and as parents, it’s our job to build kids who have the tools they need to survive it. Technology has certainly changed a lot, in that it puts everything at our fingertips. There’s not as much work involved in learning, researching, education, or even being a consumer, as there once was. Pair that with a world that feels increasingly volatile, and there’s a lot to be said for learning how to stand up for what you believe to be true, and as well as how to accomplish things on your own.

This is especially important for adopted children, particularly those who come from trauma-filled backgrounds and need even more support in landing strongly on their feet. Helping our kids be confident in their identity is a huge part of what makes them resilient, and it goes a long way towards building the confidence they need and deserve to be happy and successful as they grow older.

How can we help our children to become more resilient?

Teach them how to problem-solve. It can be easy to jump at your child’s every whim. Answering their questions, doing their homework, finishing a science project. We don’t mean that you should let them flail in a sea of uncertainty, but rather help guide them toward the right answer or solution, rather than solving the problem for them. Problem-solving is a big part of life, and the problems they’re going to have to solve are only going to grow in scale as they get older. Teaching them when they’re young that they have the power to navigate their problems is a valuable lesson that will only make them more resourceful, and adaptable to change, as they grow.

Hold them accountable for their actions and responsibilities. Kids know when they can take advantage of a system. We all do! And if they know there aren’t going to be consequences for their actions, they’re going to be more inclined to push boundaries. Hold true to the boundaries you set for them, by holding them accountable for the things they are responsible for. Whether it’s homework, chores, or telling the truth, keep them honest and ensure that if they do choose to shirk responsibility, they will experience the consequences of that.

Embrace failure. No life is a 100% success story. It’s in our failures that we learn our greatest lessons. Don’t keep your child from failure. Teach them how to move through it when failure does arise. Help them see the lesson in the situation, and show them the valuable teaching moments our failures are. If they are led to believe that everything will always go their way, they’ll never understand what it means to be resilient in the face of uncertainty.

Curb your overprotective side. You can’t protect your child from everything, nor should you expect to. Kids have to explore new situations on their own, feel them out, learn in real-time what’s right vs. what’s wrong, and experience freedom. If you’re there every minute, trying to save them, how will they learn how to navigate certain situations on their own? This can be very difficult for parents, but the benefits to the child are enormous.