Raising Resilient Children
Did anyone ever tell you how hard it would feel if your child is desperately disappointed about something?
It can pull our heart strings or it really aggravate us and push our buttons.
So how do you handle it if your child is sobbing because their playdate is cancelled, they didn't get picked to be 'star of the week', their favourite car broke, you promised to take them to the park and the baby has a fever so you can't go?
Do you tell them to suck it up? Do you offer a trip to the toyshop to compensate?
Parenting throws up so many dilemmas for us but luckily I have 7 great tips..
- We need to think of them experiencing disappointment as a good thing. It is really important for children to learn that life has unexpected ups and downs and that they can bounce back. If we try to take the disappointment away by over-compensating we aren’t helping them cope in life.
- Start off by properly empathising about their disappointment. You don’t have to agree with it but know that the feeling your child is having is real. Use an empathic tone of voice ‘Oh darling, I can see you are SO upset that we can’t go to Fred’s house today. You were really looking forward to it. I know how much you like to play with his trains.’ Or ‘You were so hoping to be star of the week and you worked so hard. It makes you feel really sad that you didn’t get picked.’
- Don’t give endless explanations or justifications – if they are feeling emotional they just won’t want to hear it. Let them have their feelings and wait.
- After the emotion has subsided you could say something like ‘Is there anything you’d like to do instead?’ It is good to get your child to think of an alternative plan. If they can’t think of anything offer a couple of suggestions.
- Some things can’t be ‘fixed’ so don’t try to compensate. For example in the case of not being picked for 'star of the week', just talk about trying again. Tell them a story of a time you were disappointed and what you did to get over it. Don’t try to make it all better, that isn’t your job. Your job is to help them cope with disappointment.
- Take a look at some of the work of the psychologist Carol Dwek who writes extensively about the power of mindset. People who train themselves to have a positive mindset will be much more resilient when set-backs happen.
- Regularly talk about the things that went well that for you day and what you are grateful for and get them to tell you theirs. If you make this a regular habit, it becomes easier and you’ll be amazed how much more positive everyone feels.
Get in touch with me to get coaching and support with any aspect of parenting. Send me a message and we can set up a time for a free initial 20 minute call.