There are so many children who have to face big issues with their relationships around them, which can be complicated and often confusing. Children don’t figure stuff out like adults, their brains are still developing. So how do we teach children to navigate a path that is strewn with obstacles?
Here’s some of the things we have learned in our family which helps build resilience:
- Lots of love and encouragement. If kids are coping with difficult people or situations they need even more encouragement to counteract the negativity they experience
- Lots of hugs and reassurance. To be able to spend time listening and talking makes a big difference. No matter what is going on there is always constant people in their lives who care. As our grandchildren have got older the conversations are really interesting.
- To have good people with good values in their lives. Being part of a community who are on hand to help when it is needed. It is also a place to reach out to others in trouble and so learn about empathy. Even if one good person believes in a child then it can make the difference to whether a young person makes it through to becoming a well-adjusted adult.
- Teach children to be thankful every day, no matter what has happened to them. They become a “good-finder.” It becomes a habit of thinking which will stay with them always. We find sitting around the meal table and having turns sharing about the best thing in our day (and the worst thing) is beneficial for everyone.
- Being consistent with our rules and expectations. Schools with caring staff are often very good, as children know exactly what is expected of them.
- Helping children discover the love of learning and reading. Smart kids read. My goal in life is to get our grandchildren and as many other children as possible to really get turned on to reading by finding the books they enjoy. Book shops are a great place to browse and find the right book for a particular child. A few of our boys have loved the Treehouse series, a good starting point, and they have gone in different directions from there. Reading to children when they are small is so important too.
- Helping children find their purpose or “their own thing” that pushes their buttons. One of our grandsons has found Cubs and so looks forward to going every week. It has given him a real boost.
The more I think about children and young people with the challenges they have, the more I feel how important it is to teach them how to build resilience and to bounce back from adversity.