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Adulthood is often characterised as being full of care and responsibility, and we often make the mistake of thinking of childhood as the opposite state. But thinking of children’s lives as stress-free is to trivialise what can be quite serious problems. Exam stress, illness, parental divorce, problems with friendships, entering the school environment, perhaps a home move, and of course the act of growing up and developing itself can present quite a few challenges. These should not be swept to one side, as they represent a huge learning curve that will inform their emotional development jnrk adulthood. What can we do to help our children? The answer lies in helping them to develop emotional resilience, a key character trait which involves proactively finding good answers to the problems they face – on their own terms.
Don’t Problem Solve
It’s natural for us as parents to want to step in and magic away the challenges that our children face, but taking this approach may not actually be doing them any favours. The aim should not be to take away anything negative – that doesn’t teach any skills and may even have bad consequences in the future when they are ill prepared to face life’s tribulations. The aim should be to teach our kids how to be at peace with life’s many uncertainties and how to solve problems with their own initiative. So next time there’s a set back, instead of jumping in, train yourself to ask the right questions to help steer your kids to develop their own solution. Ask them how they feel about a situation, and what they might do to correct it. Don’t make judgements if their way is different from your own.
Allow Some Mistakes
One of the hardest things to do is to let your children make mistakes. They need to understand that failure is not the end of the world and that situations change over time. In fact, sometimes it can be a very positive thing to make a mistake. Guide your children to seeing mistakes more as learning opportunities. Of course you should never let your kids come to harm, but small mistakes are an essential part of them developing their own judgement. Similarly, letting kids see that every action has a consequence is something that parents should work towards when instilling values.
Teach Kids About Managing Their Emotions
One gift you should be sure to pass on to your offspring are techniques on how to manage negative emotions. It’s crucial that they learn how to express what they’re feeling in a non-destructive way. You may be beginning from a good place, or sometimes, there may already be existing problems and conditions that you will have to work to tackle first. In those cases, getting the right support is absolutely critical. Seek advice from specialist organisations and online resources such as Tapestry`s piece on anorexia recovery to access help on dealing with the consequences of bad management of emotions. With a little perseverance and improved communication skills, it’s possible to get a much better outcome.