There is a lot in the press about the Snowflake Generation, so how do you help your child build resilience to help them weather the storm of what life will throw at them? The answer is to be consistent and start small.
Let them have a go
We all know it’s easier to get someone else to do something for us rather than to do it ourselves. This can be down to pure laziness, but also lack of confidence in the task at hand. Make sure that the task is age appropriate. For example, let your toddler have a go at putting their own shoes on, or allow your primary school child to try to spell the tricky word themselves before you spell it out to them. This leads me onto my next point….
Allow them to fail
Failure is often seen as just that: failure; but actually it is a valuable learning tool and essential to build resilience. How will your child face setbacks as they grow up if everything has always gone right for them? We all want the best for our children, but by smoothing over the bumps in the road and ensuring that they never have to worry about anything going wrong we are actually doing them a disservice. Remember James Dyson had 5,127 failed prototypes of the hugely successful Dual Cyclone bag-less vacuum cleaner!
Try not to reassure
Now this is one that I struggled with to begin with. If your child is upset or has hurt themselves, it can be tempting to rush in with ‘don’t worry, everything’s okay, Mummy/Daddy’s here’. However, if this is all your child hears when things are tough, they will rely on you to make everything better and therefore not realise that they can help themselves. Obviously in extreme circumstances, reassurance is a wonderful and helpful tool, but during the day to day, try and step back a little. Sympathise, but don’t reassure.
Get them to remember what they have done well
Help your child to remember things that they have done well and to take pride in them. We are wired to remember what hasn’t worked out, concentrating on what needed to be changed or improved; but we can teach ourselves to remember the good things that happen too. Get your child to get into the habit of listing three things that went well each day.
Praise them when they are try something they don't feel confident about
We all find it difficult going into situations that make us feel uncomfortable of scared, so make sure that your child recognises they have done something really brave when they have tried something new or done something that they were anxious about.
It’s okay to ask for help
Resilience is not just being able to try things on your own, it is also knowing when to ask for help. You do not have to do everything on your own. Admitting vulnerability and realising that you do need help, whether for a physical task or for emotional support, is a huge life skill.
Finally, children learn through example, so do try to walk the walk and model the behaviours above. Building resilience is a life’s work, but you can help your child by giving them key skills from a young age.
I'm a Personal Coach who loves finding out about what makes people tick and helping them to make the changes necessary to get to where they want to go so they can thrive.