How to help your child develop resilience against life’s challenges
How to strengthen your children and equip them for life (with both joy and sorrow) is a central question for most parents. Thoughts about children’s resilience are particularly relevant when we separate. Fortunately, there are things we can do to strengthen children for the challenges of life.
A summary of this article is found below.
An important factor in how children manage crises and difficult events is their resilience, or the ability to bounce back. Resilience is connected to a child’s personality but it is also something that we parents can influence. When we give children hope and show trust in their ability to manage change, we strengthen their resilience. Facing difficulties together that inevitably arise in life teaches children life knowledge.
How to support your childs’ resilience
- Show the child that you trust their ability to handle difficulties.
- Be available and be a support, whether it is something practical or emotional.
- Take children’s feelings and questions seriously.
- Do not assume that the child will react in a particular way, but meet them where they are.
- Give the child knowledge and control over their situation by preparing and involving them in the process according to their age.
Show your children that they are important and have a role to play.
Perhaps you can give your child a task now that everyday life is not rolling along as usual. Also show your appreciation when the child takes the initiative to support a sibling or tries to cheer you up or comfort you when you’re down. When children comfort and take responsibility, it often arouses guilt in adults, but as long as you and your co-parent bear the heaviest responsibility, it’s positive for children to be able to contribute.
Knowledge and control benefit resilience
This means that the child needs to be able to ask questions and be involved. Parents need to involve their children just the right amount and not “spoil” them. Otherwise, the child may be the last to find out what is happening in the family. Involvement does not mean that children should bear adult responsibility or become a dumping ground for their parents’ emotions. Children need to be able to see what is going on and be involved in what is important. Children need to feel prepared. For younger children, this may mean something as concrete as the teddy being there or knowing who will pick them up from daycare. For older children, it may mean insight and involvement in where they will live. Or help them arrange contact with friends and their sport activities.
- Resilience depends on several factors, the child’s personality and how we parents act.
- Giving children hope and showing faith in their ability to cope with change strengthens them.
- When we handle difficulties together, the child gets valuable life experience.
- We can strengthen our children by being there for them and being a support.
- When parents take children’s feelings and questions seriously, we strengthen their resilience.
- We also need to let the child be involved in the process according to age and maturity.