From the March Newsletter: How resiliency helps kids cope

By Jody Tate

Guest Columnist

Grand Mesa Middle School Counselor

Grand Junction, CO – I remember the feeling I had when my firstborn fell while learning to walk. He hit his head on the corner of a desk and when I picked him up there was blood on his face. The guilt and fear that washed over me crushed my heart. I felt I would never let him go again.

We have all felt that way as a parent. If we are being honest, we have allowed ourselves to rescue our kids when they didn’t need it. They need to fall and fail, yet our discomfort inhibits our willingness to let that happen. We love our kids and, ironically, that very love can blind us to making the best decisions for them.

Resiliency is the ability to face adversity and have the confidence to embrace it; the ability to be able to fail a class, learn from that failure and use it as a tool to know what to do better next time. Resiliency means being accountable for how you made someone feel and learning how to be more socially aware. Resiliency is the key to success and happiness.

There are pivotal moments in our children’s lives when we need to let them gain resiliency.  Learning what to do and not to do will help our children gain and grow. Below are a few areas where we as parents can encourage resiliency in our children to help them learn skills they’ll need to succeed both now and as an adult.

When Facing Failure

It can be hard to watch without interfering when we can see that our children are taking steps toward failure. Our love compels us to make sure it is done and done right.

  • DO ask questions and let them tell you their ideas and how they are thinking.
  • DO let them experience these opportunities and take ownership whether it is failure or success. Failure hurts, but it also teaches.
  • DON’T correct their mistakes or “fix” something so it looks nicer.
  • DON’T do the work or thinking for them.

During a Conflict with Teachers or Other Adults

Our need to defend our kids and protect them at all costs can cost them their ability to self-advocate. Our children will have people in and out of their lives with whom they do not get along.

  • DO let them learn to appreciate someone despite how they feel about them.
  • DO show them they can learn from anyone; they don’t need to like them or even be liked by them for that matter.
  • DON’T interfere. Allow them to learn to navigate those difficult waters.
  • DON’T ever allow disrespect.

When Homework is Due

We recognize our children may not have enough time. It may be too hard. They may not understand the work. That is all okay.

  • DO make sure they get their homework done.
  • DO make sure they take it to school and turn it in.
  • DON’T defend them if it isn’t in or correct.
  • DON’T give excuses for not knowing or understanding. Let them learn to ask for help, seek understanding and create organization that allows them to be more efficient. Help, don’t do.

When They Get in Trouble

We often don’t see how our kids act at school or in public, and sadly it is often quite different from how they act at home. It’s also natural and part of learning to act differently and have natural consequences when we do so.

  • DO open conversations with them that allow them to process and resolve issues.
  • DO listen.
  • DON’T side with them when they get in trouble.
  • DON’T defend their actions. Allow them to learn how to take responsibility.

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