Resilience can be described as a person’s ability to bounce back from stressful or challenging obstacles. A strong sense of resilience is often associated with higher self-confidence as well as greater social, emotional and mental health. However, like many aspects of parenting, the Covid Pandemic has made that a bit harder especially for parents whose parenting style may be best described as “helicopter parenting” which refers to parents who “hover” over every aspect of their children’s lives. While the Pandemic may have caused some helicopter parents to become less overprotective since they were forced to give their children more autonomy simply to survive the logistics of being in quarantine, others may have actually gotten even more enmeshed in the lives of their children. This overinvolvement can lead to an underdeveloped sense of resilience among children. Fortunately, resilience is not genetic and parents and teachers can help children learn and strengthen their resilience skills through the following ways:
- Teach them that it is OK to make mistakes: Children need to know that making mistakes is normal and inevitable. They also need to view mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. Help them figure out what they could do differently next time. This will help them become better problem solvers and risk takers as well.
- Create a safe space to express emotions: Being resilient doesn’t mean that children won’t experience difficult or negative emotions so it is important to teach them how to identify and label what they are feeling. While it is necessary for adults to make sure that children's feelings are validated, they must also teach them ways to handle them appropriately.
- Maintain a consistent daily routine and expectations: Having structure and sticking to a routine is comforting to children, but it also helps clearly define rules and expectations. Part of being resilient means accepting the consequences for your choices so children need to know exactly what is expected of them.
- Set achievable and specific goals: When children set goals and achieve them, it helps them build confidence in their power and control in determining outcomes. In order for this to be successful, it is important to make sure that goals are realistic with clearly defined action steps.
When children are not given the opportunity to experience disappointment and setbacks, they become less able to problem-solve, tend to have lower self-esteem and higher anxiety or depression. Teaching them to be resilient means giving them the skills they need to cope with life challenges and ultimately learn to be independent, happy, and high-functioning adults.
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.