Resilient kids are made outside their comfort zone

Are we doing children a favor by letting them have the easiest and best of everything? “What distinguishes healthy families is not the absence of problems or suffering but rather their coping and problem solving abilities.”  (Froma Walsh)

A good definition of “resilient” is found in Ms. Walsh’s book, Strengthening Family Resilience: “the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful.”

Ways to let children practice resilience

  • Praise a child’s patience with a younger sibling’s interference with their toys, rather than jumping to stop the conflict.
  • Encouragement: “You’re a star when it comes to trying new things.”

The blessing of undivided attention

I’ve never been good at multi-tasking. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried for years.  I just can’t hold my thoughts together when I’m working on multiple projects at once. It’s always been this way, so it’s not just because I’m getting older. I admit being jealous of people who have bookmarks in several books right now, digital or otherwise.  To keep plot lines in context? Not a chance.

Suddenly an inability to divide attention is a hot commodity.

To listen with full attention is in demand.  Personal devices, certainly good and necessary, are perhaps the most common enemy of our desire to give all our attention to what our loved one has to say.  To be emotionally present with others communicates their importance.

More than compliments communicate a child’s value

Adults do three things all the time to express how we value the children in our lives. I’m working at these things. I want to be are good at them because, more than compliments, these actions form a foundation of trust.

1. We keep our mouths shut and let the kid answer questions for himself.

We try to avoid finishing sentences and filling in the blanks for a child in conversations. We don’t answer a question directed at the child, such as “No, Armando won’t like popcorn. He never likes popcorn!” Instead, if he is not answering for himself, we ask, “Armando, your friend’s mom wants to know if you want popcorn. Do you?”