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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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How to Raise a Resilient Child

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KERRIE MCLOUGHLIN

Scary things pop into my head when I see my kid flipping out over not getting a toy in the grocery store checkout aisle. I picture my kid, in the future, throwing a pen across the room at their boss when they don’t get the promotion they want. I also picture them trying unsuccessfully to deal with things I have to deal with every day: road rage, a tantrum-y toddler, impatience over a failing recipe. And this is why I am determined to raise a resilient, problem-solving child; one who is able to roll with the punches life will inevitably throw. Check out some common mistakes we might make along the way.

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]1[/fusion_dropcap]Trying to fix everything. Instead of rushing to make sure life is comfortable for my kids, I want them to figure out how to solve their own issues. This goes for relationships, school, work, sports and other activities, etc. They’ll need to figure out how to deal with homesickness at camp, and you’ll need to help them by brainstorming and teaching them real ways to handle things.

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]2[/fusion_dropcap]Overprotecting them. Yes, we live in a crazy world, but your kid should be able to enjoy some freedoms, like walking to their friend’s house up the street, depending on their age and maturity level. If I drove my teenager, who has a license, to work and to all of his activities because I’m scared he might get in an accident, I would never have time for my other kids. So I say a prayer and let him drive, trying my best not to let him see how anxious I feel. Pretty soon he’ll be doing it all the time by himself anyway.

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]3[/fusion_dropcap]Providing all the answers. I’m a positive person by nature, so when my kids ask if they are going to like something, I say, “Of course you will!” Instead, I need to say, “I don’t know. What are you going to do if you can’t stand your college roommate, your first day of camp, this new meal I just made, etc.?”

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]4[/fusion_dropcap]Making sure they always succeed. Ah, mistakes. Such a part of life and they are how we learn cool lessons! It’s tough to watch our kids fail, but so satisfying to watch the creative ways they get back up. Learning consequences of actions are so important, and we can show our kids how to act by admitting when we make mistakes ourselves.

[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=”” text_color=””]5[/fusion_dropcap]Dictating their emotions. No need to tell your kid to “suck it up” … it’s OK to feel the emotions that come with making mistakes, learning new things and being put in foreign situations. Model emotional resiliency for your kids and you’ll raise some empathetic kids who realize that talking things through and getting angry or crying when appropriate are a healthy part of being a human being. (side note: this includes not freaking out when your kid misses a goal or brings home a bad grade.)

The bottom line is that your kids won’t always live with you (hopefully!). Your job right now is to gradually teach them how to take care of themselves and not be anxious about living their lives. Let’s raise kids who are happy, successful and who know how to bounce back from setbacks.

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