How to Raise Resilient Children

Parenting Coach, Dr. Kathy Masarie, author of the Raising Our Daughters/Sons Parenting Guides, had advice for parents on how to foster resiliency in their children.

Some traits of a resilient person:

• STRENGTHS:
A resilient person works to develop and appreciates their own unique strengths that they can pull from them when needed.
• CONFIDENT AND CAPABLE:
A resilient person has confidence that they are capable of facing problems.
• PROACTIVE AND IN CONTROL
They are proactive-and know that the only person who can control them is themselves. They know that their actions and their choices can influence their life and they build bridges to a better future rather than put up barriers.
• SELF-AWARE
A resilient person can manage their own emotions- self control, self-discipline
• CONNECT WITH OTHERS
• They are honest, open and have a great ability to connect and understand other people
• KNOW WHEN TO DEPEND ON OTHERS
They have good judgment and can recognize when they need support and know how to ask for it.

What can parents do to foster resiliency in their children:

• LET THEM FAIL
Hardest step is the first step- let your kids experience failure and hardship. It starts with little steps, where the consequences are smaller. In other words-fire yourself from rescuing.
• SUPPORT THEM
Don’t abandon them. You can still be there for them.
o Give them empathy and understanding of how difficult this must be for them.
o Ask them what they are going to do about it and really be curious about their answer. This tells them:
 My dad thinks I can solve this problem
 My mom believes in my so much, she trusts me to handle this
o Help them brainstorm a plan
o If plan A fails, help them brainstorm plan B, then plan C
• RECOGNIZE THEIR GIFTS AND TALENTS AND LET THEM KNOW THEY ARE SPECIAL
o When my son was in second grade his piano teacher told him he played like a kindergartener. Rather than be shamed into practicing more, he was indignant- how could she talk to me that way. It was my first glimpse of the incredible self-respect he had for himself. I supported him to find a different piano teacher- that honored him for his own style of learning to play, that involved a lot more fun.
o My niece was always correcting what her mom wore. Take this purse, add this scarf. It turned out she had a gift for design and is now studying it in college.
• HELP KIDS DISCOVER THEIR STRENGHTS BY BELIEVING IN THEM
Here is a story to illustrate how we empower or disempower our kids by our behavior towards them
Grandpa was playing with his 18 mo grandkids Scott and Sara who are twins.  When he gave Sara a piggyback ride, she got scared and she began to cry, he put her down, cuddled and sympathized with her.  When he gave her twin brother a piggyback ride and he started to cry, Grandpa persisted, told Scott he would be fine and to be brave. In a few minutes Scott was having the time of his life.  Sara didn’t get another chance.  
Girls and boys both benefit from being treated as sturdy and capable from an early age. 
• FIND SAFE HAVENS FOR THEM _WHERE THEY ARE HONORED FOR WHO THEY ARE
Find safe relational hardiness zones, such as home, school, neighborhood, community organizations and clubs where they feel known and can explore safely who they are
• SHARE RESPONSIBILITY
Assign family responsibilities-create opportunities for them to become more resilient because they develop a keen sense of purpose and direction
• BE RESILIENT YOURSELF
o Model healthy problem solving
o Model positive outlooks --strong self-esteem, self-confidence, and a positive self-concept.
o Develop a talent for serendipity the ability to convert misfortune into good fortune.
 

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