Helping your child become resilient through success.

Image: the young boy learning to tie his shoes for the first time

Or the toddler learning to use the light switch the first time

A little girl trying to make the swings go on her own

Childhood is full of daily growth for children. Their milestones occur frequently and in a matter of time what was a milestone has become a mastered routine. A child can become more resilient when his success is nurtured. Children and the adults in their life are what make an experience meaningful. Teachers and parents can create the positive response to encourage development and grown. It is essential that parents create a environment where success is a daily occurrence int he child’s life. It is also important to look at the way you conceptualize success in the first place.

When parents bring in their children, of my first questions is usually, “Tell me what little Bobby is good at.” I want to see with that first question the way the family culture deals with success. I can tell immediately the families who need help in this area when mom gives her child two or three compliments and then spends the next 45 minutes complaining.

To be clear, many problems do deserve that amount of time to understand. However, I often find that when the parent’s version of success is far above the child’s action, the child becomes fatalistic. The child refuses to grow, tantrums, says they can’t do anything, or simply misbehaves. Why?

Emotionally consider: Imagine you are a child again. You have just learned to toddle around and walk. Your mother comes up to you. Instead of clapping and cheering for each time you fall and pull yourself up she gives you a serious face and tells you to stop messing around and start running. The less you run, the more frustrated she becomes. She offers punishment instead of reward.

Parents run a risk of creating children who do not feel capable of succeeding or that effort is worth the risk when the parent alone decide what a success may be.

Children with high resiliency have high self esteem, a confidence in themselves as in control of their world. They perceive success based on their efforts and ability.  Some parents respond well to a child getting a B, others quite negatively.

The basic end line here is that parents must consciously create a culture of success for the child. Many parents fear that if they lower the bar their child will slack off. If that is your fear I can probably also guess that you have a limited idea of success and what your child’s future should be.

The advice part:

Create positive conversations

Be careful not to reinforce low self esteem

Create a structure where kids can succeed at their own level

Let your child see your joy at their success. Channel the energy from the parent who can clap for joy, cheer, and be excited about the toddler pulling himself up after a fall.

Accept the strengths and areas of interest your child has.

Don’t let your child minimize his accomplishments.

**For more ideas about resiliency in many other areas I suggest you read the book, “Raising Resilient Children,” by Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein.

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