Emotional resilience is one of the most important attitudes your kids can cultivate. This is what allows them to move past challenges and explore all avenues to solve the problems they encounter on their own. With that said, emotional resilience depends on several factors, namely family support, a positive self-perception, flexible communication, problem-solving, and the ability to manage intense feelings and impulses.
Emotional resilience issues can emerge at a very young age, but as a parent, you can help your kids build strength and passion in their lives as well as their pursuits.
In this article, we discuss the intricacies of how to raise emotionally resilient kids along with some helpful activities to build and promote a positive attitude.
No.1 Model resilience for your kid
Kids learn how to deal with emotions by observing their parents’ behavior. As a parent, it’s essential that you think about how you act under stressful circumstances. For instance, when you’re dealing with a flat tire or a long queue at the grocery store, how do you manage the situation? Are you able to stay calm and composed or do you complain about it the whole time? Life brings all sorts of challenges and conflicts. So, if you want your kids to handle upsetting moments gracefully, you need to model qualities like patience, flexibility, commitment, and discipline for your children.
No.2 Don’t take over
When your kid is frustrated and struggling, your first instinct might be to swoop in and do it for them. However, your role as a parent is not to solve or fix the issues they encounter for them but rather to set a framework in place that will allow them to succeed. Don’t provide all the answers either. In other words, try to practice more restraint whenever possible. Stepping in to soothe and comfort your child might be a necessity sometimes but give them the opportunity to learn how to solve their own problems first.
No.3 Help them develop problem-solving skills
You want your children to develop the ability to deal with obstacles, hardships, and even failure in a healthy way, so that someday when they move out, they can handle whatever is thrown their way. Ideally, you want them to take those struggles, learn from them, and bounce back.
So teaching your kids problem-solving skills is essential. If they’re anxious about an exam, encourage them to brainstorm strategies like how they plan to manage their time in order to study for that exam. Engage your child in exploring all the different ways they can handle challenges and give them the opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
No.4 Encourage a growth mindset
A growth mindset teaches your kids that their intelligence is not fixed. When they recognize that they can develop their knowledge through consistent learning, this provides them with greater motivation to work harder and be successful, both in school and external contexts.
You can further reinforce this positive attitude by praising your kids, not for how smart they are but for the hard work they put in. Moreover, having a growth mindset coach or educator that your child can connect with will help them assimilate that state of abundance and growth more quickly and efficiently.
No.5 Cultivate creativity
Problem-solving skills are important, but so is creativity. Encourage your kids to unleash their creative side and invite them to share their ideas by creating a setting where they feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
Creativity often leads to imagining innovative out-of-the-box solutions that you wouldn’t have considered yourself. This is a vital aspect of raising emotionally resilient kids where they get to explore, take risks, and find their own voices within their peer group, and eventually within the world.
No.6 Reward initiative and agency
Kids love to try things on their own, from getting dressed to assembling puzzles, taking initiative should be rewarded. This allows your kids to develop a sense of agency that can only come from within via internal rewards like creativity and autonomy, not from external rewards like grades and money. So encourage your kids to try things without your help and applaud their agency because it can instill in them positive attributes, most notably empathy, integrity, and self-awareness.
No.7 Teach them the value of optimism
Optimism and a positive attitude are key components of emotional resilience. While some kids may be more cheerful than others, a positive attitude can be taught. Remind them that things going wrong or unexpectedly is completely normal, but what matters the most is what they choose to do about it, more specifically the step they choose to take next.
Resilience activities to try with kids
● Volunteer work: when it comes to raising emotionally resilient kids, there’s no substitute for helping those in need. This not only instills a sense of altruism in your children but it also allows them to draw their focus away from themselves and toward others. This includes things as simple as mowing the lawn of a neighbor, planting flowers in a communal area, picking up trash in the park, etc.
● Relaxation techniques to manage emotions: teaching your kids relaxation techniques can help them resort to healthy coping mechanisms when they’re anxious and stressed. Deep breathing, for instance, is a great way to center the self and support good emotional balance.
● Trying new things: this can be scary and challenging but it also promotes creativity and venturing outside of one’s comfort zone. Encouraging your children to try new things can lead to the discovery of fun, enjoyable, and rewarding activities. Not to mention how taking risks also promotes their autonomy and self-esteem.
As a parent, knowing when to step in and when to step back, although difficult, is essential for your kids to cultivate a growth mindset and develop their emotional resilience. If you’re constantly catering to their every need and holding their hand while they go about their day, your kids won’t learn how to do things on their own. Sometimes, letting them struggle, despite how challenging it is for you to watch, can help them hone their problem-solving skills as well as learn and grow from those experiences.