Ideas for Bringing Up Kind, Resilient Children.
Somewhere at beginning of the school year, we presented each of our sons with a photo of our family, an eraser in the form of an ear (we called it an EARaser!), and pencils that were engraved with our goals and aspirations for the next academic year.
A funny rendition of “Leo the Literate” was created for our youngest child, who will soon begin attending kindergarten, where he will learn to read and write.
We decided on the name “Henry the Hardy” for our eldest child, who is sure to have more difficult classes, more stringent timetables, and maybe even one or two bullies to contend with.
The practice of kindness is something that goes back a long way in our household. Along with gaining knowledge, adventure is also included.
And although it’s true that these things help promote resiliency, we’re finding that it’s a delicate balancing act to educate children to be considerate of others while also encouraging them to be confident, assertive, and determined within themselves. This is something that we’re learning as we go.
It is time to consult with an experienced professional: How do we bring up children who are resourceful while yet being able to hold their own? Sweet and strong? Is it possible to be amicable and adaptable? Respectful and resilient?
I had a conversation with Ashley MacNish, who holds a Master of Arts degree and works as an Educational Consultant for the Family Engagement Group of the Hemmeter Lab at Vanderbilt University.
Her work aims to promote healthy social and emotional development in children and families through the application of research and innovation.
In addition to the advice that was written on pencils, Ashley provided you with three more pieces of advice that you may put into practice right now and that will go a long way toward helping you achieve your parenting objectives.
Three Pointers to Help You Raise Children Who Are Caring, Strong, and Independent
Pick Your Words Carefully is a good motto to live by.
To get things started, Ashley advises parents to communicate with the goal in mind from the beginning. She explains, “Use positive and precise language to describe the behavior you want to see.” [She says this because] [She] wants you to see [[the behavior]].
Therefore, a better phrase to use is “Be nice,” rather than the more common “Don’t be nasty!”. The reason for this is that children have a tendency to imitate the language that adults use, which means that we run the risk of unintentionally encouraging undesirable behaviors in them.
Additionally, Ashley nudges us to be more detailed throughout the conversation. Your assertion that people should “be nice” could be further upon by asking something along the lines of, “Can you repeat it again in a quiet and kind voice?”
You may assist your child’s mind reset by selecting your words carefully, and you can also offer him guidelines that are clear and succinct for him to follow. Instructions that, given enough repetition, might almost seem like second nature to the person following them.
This is also true for having a resilient character. It’s possible that you may use terms such as:
“If you’re experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, either try again or ask for assistance.”
It is acceptable to maintain a steadfast position. Make it clear that you are not to touch me in any way. If it continues to happen, you should tell an adult about it.”
“All you have to do is take the very first step. After that, when you are ready, have another.”
Be sure to crow about how successful your parenting has been when your children take your advice to heart. You should let him know how much you appreciate his efforts, and — as Ashley adds — you can anticipate your targeted praise to promote a recurrence of excellent conduct in the future.
Demonstrate and Discuss Two Essential Abilities
Even while our words are powerful reminders of the actions we want our children to exhibit, one of our primary goals as parents is to instill in them the characteristics of kindness and resiliency that will serve them well even when we are not physically there. In order to assist children in developing their self-assurance, Ashley offers the following two activities:
I am able to bring about a state of composure in volatile situations. Kids are sure to experience a wide range of feelings due to the competition they have with their siblings, the amount of work they have to do, and the number of times they strike out.
When your kid is feeling agitated, remind him to take a few slow, deep breaths. This will allow his body and brain the opportunity to stop and reflect before continuing.
You and him might collaborate to think of more methods by which he can slow down in situations when he is feeling anxious or stressed out. Ashley recommends to parents that they display a visual reminder of calming concepts in a place where children can see it so that children may perform these behaviors on their own.
I am capable of finding solutions to the issues that I am facing. Before you get together with your friends or before you give your kid a new assignment, try to think ahead about any potential issues that may occur.
Discuss possible courses of action for the “what-ifs” and reassure your child that he is both intelligent and competent, as well as the fact that you are always ready to assist him in the event that he needs it.
Then, when genuine difficulties develop, you should fight the impulse to immediately intervene in the situation. Pause for a while; he could come up with a solution on his own that you hadn’t expected!
In the end, the objective is not only to cultivate nice and resilient children, but also to cultivate kind and resilient young people. Additionally, this is going to call for a gradual but steady increase in one’s degree of autonomy.
You Should Think of Your House as a Safe Haven
Above all things, Ashley urges us to cultivate the ties we have with our children and to create environments in which we feel comfortable and secure for them.
She gives this explanation on resilience: “When a child’s brain is created by pleasant early experiences and strong and emotionally secure attachments to his caregivers, he is better equipped to buffer the effect of stress when it arises.”
What about treating others with kindness?
As a continuation of her previous statement, Ashley says that “such nurturing and responsive connections assist children to feel loved and to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and feels like as they develop and navigate the world.”
Our children learn to argue with their siblings in a manner that is respectful to all sides, to treat people with kindness in both word and action, and to expect kindness in return from close friendships as they grow older when they are raised in a house that serves as a haven.
Because there is always someone waiting with open arms to give a hug, talk through the pain, and join them in brainstorming the best way forward when the home is a haven,
our children learn that it is okay to take risks, make mistakes, or fail miserably when the home is a haven. This teaches our children that it is okay to fail miserably, make mistakes, and take risks.
Naturally, in order for our house to function as a safe haven for our family, each of us will need to learn how to better control the effects of stress on our own bodies and to set a positive example for our children by behaving in a compassionate and resolute manner on a daily basis.
Thankfully, our goal in this endeavor is not to achieve perfection. On the other hand, Ashley contends that “I believe you need to take perfection out of it because we are humans, and we make errors.”
It’s a matter of reframing your mentality so that when you do make a mistake, you ask yourself, “How can I make this a learning opportunity for myself and for my child?” This will help you become a better parent overall.
After all, we are simultaneously developing our skills and expanding our knowledge.