I absolutely loved this article on raising resilient children. This piece was written by Lyle J. Burrup who teaches at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. The motivation for this article came from witnessing seemingly strong missionaries who are unable to progress and cope when they met hardship, temporary failure and emotional barriers. He suggests that resiliency, the ability to bounce back, is a character trait that children need be taught. I really resonated with many of the principles discussed and plan for my parenting strategies to emulate those written about here. This is a list of 10 points I gleaned from the article:
(I realize that many of these ideas are not new, but with the perspective/goal of resiliency, they brought new meaning to me.)
1. Discuss rules and set logical, related consequences. By doing this, children will know what to expect and understand that their choices have natural consequences, for better or worse. (ex: Kids can play with friends tomorrow if they come home on time today.)
2. Give mostly praise-- celebrate small steps in the right direction. By doing this, children will learn what parents want, and feel encouraged, worthwhile and appreciated.
3. Have clear expectations that are non-negotiable and not tied to a reward (ex: chores). By doing this, children will learn that they don't have to want to do hard things, they just have to do them.
4. Praise effort regardless of outcome. By doing this, children will feel encouraged, confident and more willing to take on challenges.
5. Teach that self worth comes from divine lineage and potential, not outcomes. By doing this, children will learn that their worth does not depend on temporary success or failure.
6. Define failure as opportunity and success as a product of hard work and sacrifice. By doing this, children will be less discouraged by setbacks and more willing to be persistant.
7. In terms of problem solving: Instead of giving answers, help children 1. Identify what happened 2. Analyze what contributed to the outcome and 3. Identify what they can do to avoid this in the future. By doing this, children will perceive themselves as being capable, willing to address and solve problems. They see that they have control in life and that they can overcome challenges. Who doesn't want their child to have these skills?!?
8. Listen to and be supportive to kids. By doing this, they will come to you with their mistakes and problems.
9. Require a standard of excellence. If the child makes her bed poorly, she must do it again in order to gain privileges. By doing tasks correctly, children will gain confidence and an eagerness to do things right the first time.
10. Teach the "law of harvest" by allowing children to work for conveniences in life (ex: extra chores, paper route...). By doing this, children will learn that hard work feels good and gives freedom.
"Resilient children see life as challenging and ever-changing, but believe they can cope with these challenges and changes." They accept that losing may precede winning. Resilient people focus on what they can do instead of what is outside their control.
I am so excited about these how-to parenting ideas and will employ them in terms of myself and my marriage as well!