Resilience is the ability and capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; to bounce back after a setback or challenging situation.
As adults, we constantly face demands and responsibilities, but most of us have the skills and strategies to face and tackle these demands with confidence and resilience. We often forget that children also face demands, responsibilities and challenges; albeit, as an adult, we may feel that these may be insignificant issues, in the world of a child they are perceived to be very significant.
It is important, as adults, that we help develop resilience and confidence in our children. It is natural for us to want to try and ‘smash down’ any barriers or challenges that our children may face, but this is often at the expense of the development of their independence and resilience. Children are very receptive toward picking up on what triggers our attention, therefore we need to be careful. An example of this is when your child is talking in the background about their day while you are preparing dinner. We often are able to multitask and cut the carrots while chatting about the positive and fun aspects; however, the moment our child mentions an issue, or a challenge that they were faced with, we stop what we are doing and start asking prompting questions to find out greater detail. The child has now realised that they have triggered your interest and attention. If this becomes a common pattern for you, your child will start to believe that these are the things that interest you about their day and therefore will be what they want to tell you about.
As a parent myself, I understand how easy it is to fall into this habit. One strategy that I use with my children is to make sure that I am aware of my own body language and subtle cues that I show when my daughter is telling me about her day at school. Every time my daughter mentions something negative, I listen, but I then prompt her to tell me two or three positives about the day; this way the positives outweigh the negatives.
Having said all of this, there are times, as adults, that we should stop and listen and advocate for our children, but there are other times we should use the opportunity to help enable them, and equip them with strategies, to become resilient and confident with dealing with challenges and problems themselves.
As a school, we recognise the importance of raising confident and resilient children. We focus on equipping our students with strategies to overcome challenges independently, but at the same time to show genuine love and care for them and the situation.
There is a lovely African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child”, recognising that parenting is a shared responsibility, involving the parents, grandparents, extended families, friends, neighbours, teachers etc. We all have our part to play in order for children to experience and grow in a safe, nurturing environment; helping them be equipped to face challenges and demands throughout their life.
Thank you for entrusting your children to us.