Raising Resilient Kids
Becoming a new mother can be a daunting challenge. There are so many unknowns and fears when being responsible for a child. I became a proud mama bear 7 months ago and my son already has taught me that I will never know what I am doing, but I am just trying my best not to ruin this perfect little boy. Seeing this crazy world he is growing up in gives me many worries of all the dangers around us. As his mother, I can prepare him for this experience we call life.
I understand that I can’t shield my son from all the dangers of the world, so the best way to prepare him is to help him become resilient and gain the necessary skills to face all the many challenges that are in his future. Lynn Lyons, a psychotherapist who specializes in treating anxious families, provides 10 tips to raising resilient kids. She provided the following tips:
1. Don’t accommodate every need
2. Avoid eliminating all risks
3. Teach them to problem solve
4. Teach your kids concrete skills
5. Avoid “why” questions
6. Don’t provide all the answers
7. Avoid talking in catastrophic terms
8. Let your kids make mistakes
9. Help them manage their emotions
10. Model resiliency
One point that I would like to expand on is #5, avoiding “why” questions. I thought this was an interesting idea that I hadn’t considered before. Dr. Lynn’s example was about a child leaving a bike outside in the rain. A natural response is to ask your child why he left it out. Their answer wouldn’t help the situation, since it is in the past. She explains that we should ask “how” questions instead. With the bike problem, it would be best to ask the child, “Now that the bike is in the rain and is rusting, how can we fix it?” I think this is a great life lesson for every mother. There are so many times that we ask questions that are meaningless, and the answer will not help with the outcome. We should be asking questions that are useful and lead children to thinking about the next step.
My big take away from these tips was that I can’t shelter my children from their problems. It is necessary for them to gain the skills to handle difficulties on their own. I can coach them and we can together brainstorm different ideas of what to do when faced with being overwhelmed. I think the sooner we help children gain coping skills, the better off they will be. It can help them face simple situations such as exams, first dates, interviews, or making friends. Kids don’t need to do everything on their own, but it is important for them to gain the skill to know how to ask for help and problem solve their way through life.
I know that I will never be the perfect mom, but I hope to be a mother that can help prepare her children for their future. Seven months old may seem like a young age to start worrying about these concerns, but it is never too early for me to start prevention.