There are multiple skills for parents and children to master when it comes to helping them be more resilient. Here are three:
Psychological researcher Dr John Gottman’s model of emotion coaching involves helping children recognise, understand and express their emotions with five steps:
- Be aware of your child’s emotions
- Recognise your child’s expression of emotion as a perfect moment for intimacy and teaching
- Listen with empathy and validate your child’s feelings
- Help your child learn to label their emotions with words
- Set limits when you are helping your child to solve problems or deal with upsetting situations appropriately
Next time your child expresses their emotions, extend their vocabulary by helping them to label these feelings. Then validate their emotions by playing back what you have heard—this doesn’t mean you are agreeing with them!
Giving children independence enables them to gain first-hand know-ledge of how to do something. It teaches them self-discipline, allows them to achieve a sense of mastery and enhances their sense of self-worth. Independence leads to responsibility, which in turn is confidence building. Giving independence involves parents understanding kids’ developmental milestones, so they know when it is appropriate for them to take on new responsibilities.
Challenge yourself to think about how you are currently “rescuing” your child. Come up with a list of things they can start to do by themselves and teach them how to do them.
Dr Carol Dweck, a psychology professor from Stanford University, tells us that kids with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset believe they can get better at something with hard work. She says that rather than praising kids for being smart or talented, parents should encourage them based on their effort. Dr Carol talks about the power of “yet”: “I can’t do cartwheels” becomes “I can’t do cartwheels . . . yet”.
Practise encouraging your child based on the hard work and effort they have put into something, rather than on their innate talent.
Click here for help developing other skills to build resilience.