11 Oct Building Resilience in Kids
I am that mom that let’s my daughter climb on the playground without shadowing her every move. I’m also the mom who let’s my daughter steal toys from other kids and vice versa without getting involved. Lastly, I’m that mom who will stand there and let my daughter have a tantrum without trying to stop it, regardless if we’re in a public place or not.
I firmly believe that as a culture, we have placed too much emphasis on keeping a close eye on our children and protecting them from the world around them. I get it. The world is a scary place. That being said, this IS the world our kids are growing up in, and eventually, they will be teenagers in and then adults. What message are we sending our kids if we wrap them in bubble wrap? if we don’t let them fall or fail?
If I never give my daughter the chance to scale the rock wall on the playground, how will she ever know if she is capable? The playground is a great way for kids to learn confidence. On the contrary, if she falls, while there is a chance of her getting hurt, there is also a teaching moment to learn to get back up and try again.
Two of my mom friends and I made a deal that if our kids ever got into a toy dispute on a playdate, we’d sit back and let them work it out without interfering (barring any physical altercation). Guess what? Nine times out of 10, the kids worked it out themselves. We’re talking 2.5 year olds here. TaDa! Problem-solving skill building at its finest.
Kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for. When we are overprotective and hover over their every move, we are sending the signal that we don’t think our kids are capable. Our kids in turn internalize this and learned helplessness is born. You are teaching your kid that they must always rely on you, without having to figure it out themselves. If we protect them from never falling or never failing, they never learn disappointment, pain and loss; in essence, they never learn resilience.
Allowing kids to learn to be resilient can help them academically and socially, well into adulthood. Kids who learn to be resilient from a young age are more likely to be more adaptable, confident and independent than their peers who don’t learn resiliency.
The takeaway from the above is to let your kids fail and fall! Teach them that when they fall, they CAN get back up and try again. Teach them that it’s okay to lose, to get a failing grade, to not get into their first-choice college. Teach them that these moments are just that, one single moment in time. Stand back and let your kid make mistakes and learn from them.
Authored by: Tracey Weiss