Thursday, June 5, 2014

Teaching Children to be Resilient

I came outside the other day and saw this dandelion growing beside my neighbor’s driveway. I thought it was funny, because my neighbor has no grass, just artificial turf! I thought “that dandelion sure was resilient!” Made me think of parenting! (what doesn't make me think of parenting!)

To be resilient means: “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”. Another definition is: “resume shape or position after being bent, stretched or compressed”.

I believe we need to teach our children to be resilient. They are in a world where resiliency is important! Resilient people immediately look at the problem and say “what’s the solution to that?” or “what is that trying to teach me?”

I have had to be resilient these past few weeks (thus why I haven’t posted for awhile). We have a few health concerns going on in our family that have required my attention. Although it has been difficult, I am hoping that in my lifetime I have learned resiliency and I will be able to move on, resume my shape or position after being bent, stretched and compressed!

How do we teach this to our children?

 I think we should listen, listen, listen and then talk to them when they are struggling with something. Give them an opportunity to look at the situation in a different light. Ask them what they could do now to move forward, how can they solve the problem, what they could have done differently, what can they learn from this? All these questions and more, depending on the circumstance, will give the child a chance to learn for themselves the lessons they need and move on.

Teach them that mistakes are opportunities to learn and encourage their efforts. Logical and natural consequences are ways for children to learn resiliency also.

Hold a family meeting when a family is struggling with something. We just did this through technology to speak with all the family at once since we aren’t in the same cities. Our children are adults and they each had something to say to help with the situation or ideas as to what to do from here after they were able to process and think about it. When you hold family meetings when they are young, they will be able to do this as they are older.

An example of this when my children were young was when my husband’s company was bought out by another company and he did not have a position. He was without work around Christmas time. We had five children ages 3-14. We sat them down and explained the situation. My husband and son were delivering newspapers in the mornings so my son could earn money and as a family it was decided to take on more paper routes. We took on 4 routes. I remember it being one of the snowiest, coldest winters we had (probably because I was out at 5:00 in the morning) but we did what each of us could do to help. We kept the 4 routes until my husband was able to find a job and then my son and husband continued with their route.
I hope that this was an example to them of being resilient and able to withstand or recover quickly from a difficult condition.

So, little dandelion, I admire you and your determination in a difficult situation. I’m not sure my neighbor admired you, as I see now, that she has pulled you! At least I was able to get a picture and show the world your resiliency at the time!
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