Got problems? 3 things you can do to help your child become more resourceful and resilient

April 17th, 2012

We all want to teach children to be resourceful and resilient. As adults we see the necessity of learning how to cope with difficulties and find the strength and resources to overcome adverse situations. No matter who you are, and how you were raised, there will be times when you encounter problems and you must decide what to do.

 

Obstacles are opportunities in disguise. Understanding this statement may help you the next time your child (or you) encounters a problem. When your child encounters a problem they are building up their natural abilities to create solutions and figure out how to do or think differently. Our “emergency response system ” to the problems we encounter starts to be developed in childhood. If a child learns to get their needs met by a specific behavior they will continue that behavior. Even if they do not get their needs met they may repeat the same behaviors due to learned helplessness.

 

Think about your own moments when you’ve struggled with a problem you have had no control over. What type of behavior did you exhibit? When this happened did you meltdown in tears, stuff your feelings, push through the obstacle, blame others, act helpless, or act out? If you’ve had these moments you’ve probably slipped into childlike thoughts, feelings, and behaviors perhaps because you didn’t have a parent or adult that modeled appropriate ways to get your needs met or how to communicate what you needed. Although we’ve all had these moments we can teach children a different way to cope with adversity.

 

Here are 3 things you can do to help your child become more resourceful and resilient:

 

1. Lovingly let them struggle

 

Yup! Sometimes when you jump in to help too quickly you take away an opportunity for your child to learn how to overcome the problem. Unless it is a safety issue, give your child some space to figure it out before you step in. Do this in a gentle loving manner.

 

2. Offer support not solutions

 

Rather than jumping in and coming up with answers allow your child a chance to talk about their options. Just by listening you allow them an opportunity to figure things out on their own. This works wonderfully with teens & partners too!

 

3. Let them know you love them

 

Sometimes their solutions will be different than yours. That’s OK. They are learning to figure it out in their own way. Reinforce that you love them even when you may not love their choices.

 

 

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

 

As adults when we encounter obstacles and revert back to childlike behaviors we have an opportunity for a “do-over”. We can give ourselves what we didn’t get as children. Pull out the finger paints or some messy art materials the next time you feel overwhelmed by an obstacle. Create two images. The first image create what you are feeling- allow yourself to express all your emotions. In the second image create marks, colors, and words your inner child would like to hear to help soothe and comfort that aspect of yourself.

 

Use this tool with your child too. Before you jump into to fix or problem solve, provide your child with a creative outlet for expression of their feelings- then listen without judgment to what they choose to share.

 

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here. Want lots more empowering creative tools? Join our NEW Supportive, Non-Judgmental & Downright Awesome Community of Parents & Professionals committed to lovingly transforming the lives of children across the globe.

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