stars shine the brightest on the darkest night
Your child just arrived from school and is noticeably upset because they have been bullied by another kid at school or on the bus ride home. Whenever situations like this arise, it can easily make any parent’s heart sink. However, the hardcore truth is that we have to remind ourselves that life will throw all kinds of awful curveballs at our children. We know this because life has tested us many times as well. The unfortunate truth is, our kids are not immune and will have to deal with their own personal challenges and struggles.
In order for our children to be able to fight their own battles, and face challenges head-on, they need to learn how to become resilient and it is our job, as parents, to teach our kids how to do so. We want them to know how to shine even in the darkest of times. Let’s look at some ways parents can teach their kids to handle the unexpected hardships that life can throw at them.
don’t fight their battles for them
There are some cases where parents must advocate for their kids, for instance, if they have a certain learning style, and the school is not being overly accommodating. However, when it comes to other situations, like in our example where your child is being bullied, as tempting as it may be to tell your child’s bully off- you simply can’t. This is a time when kids need to be encouraged to stand up to the bully themselves instead of expecting their parents do the job. This way, kids will learn to not only stand up to bullies but will also learn to stand up for their own rights and advocate for themselves in other tricky situations that they will no doubt encounter in the future.
teach them how to problem-solve
As parents, we are going to be tempted to keep our kids protected all the time. However, we have to remember that they grow up, evolve with age (unless they have significant special needs, then that is a completely different situation), and naturally become more independent.
Whether it’s going to school for the first full day, or even to a sleepover for the first time, they will probably be nervous about being homesick, and the last thing you want to do is coddle your child in any way. What you will need to do instead is ask your child how he or she will handle being homesick and create a plan with them to help minimize the homesickness.
The same applies to when it comes to them being nervous before taking a test. What you can do with your child is to brainstorm different strategies, which includes coming up with a way to help manage time and your child’s schedule in order to study for the test.
ask ‘how’ questions instead of ‘why’
If your child ends up doing something careless, like leaving his or her bike out in the rain, the last thing you want to do is ask them why it happened. The child will not know how to respond to that, and will only become more upset as a result. You may be unhappy with the fact that your child did something careless, but the only way to help them fix their own mistakes is by asking how instead of why.
Therefore, if your child left their bike out in the rain, then you will need to say something along the lines of: You left your bike out in the rain, and as a result, the chain is rusted, how are you going to fix that? The child will then hopefully try to come up with a way to help solve the issue, such as going online to see how to fix the chain or to contribute some of their allowance money to buy a new one. Asking ‘how’ encourages problem-solving, whereas asking ‘why’ can not only be damaging to a child’s self-confidence, it also does not teach them how to rectify their mistake.
These are just a few ways in which we can help our children become more resilient. Unfortunately, kids will encounter bullies, or even worse- friends who betray them, they will face fears, disappointment, failure, sickness and other challenges. They will need to learn how to shine during these darkest nights in order to get through life. Let’s equip them with the tools to cope during these times and strategies to find their way into the light!
books to help teach resilience
Children can gain so much through the experiences of characters in storybooks. Here are some great examples of books to help teach our children the importance of being resilient. The Hugging Tree: A Story about Resilience by Jill Neimark is a beautiful story that shows how a tree makes the most of a situation that is not ideal, A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell is an interactive story that teaches little ones that even if things don’t go as planned they end up being the way they were meant, and I Knew You Could: A Book For All the Stops in Your Life (The Little Engine That Could) by Craig Dorfman reintroduces the all too familiar Little Blue Engine in a way that shows kids they can conquer any obstacle if they believe in themselves.
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.
share with us
Please share some examples you’ve experienced with your children and the ways in which you taught them to shine during difficult times. Do you have any book suggestions to help teach this message of resilience?