Raising Resilient Children
By Naomi Aldort
A friend on our island put this paragraph on his Facebook page on his 83rd’s birthday.“Well here it is again. as I start my 83rd trip around the sun,I am so lucky to be here. From a bad orphanage to a worse foster home to all the things it took to get here. I have survived 5 broken bones, 2 concussions and somewhere over 100 stitches, cancer and heart surgery, and various operations from appendectomy to vasectomy.. still have some of my hair and teeth, have glasses and hearing aids…Somehow I got thru it all, and so it seems to me that God in greater wisdom forgives my humanity. Onward…”
Why am I quoting it on a parenting page? For perspective. Witnessing someone’s picture of a full life can help us see our children with more calm and trust.
Parents often weaken their children’s emotional resilience, by preventing them from hurting, and making life perfectly happy for them. This well intended approach does not prepare children for living happily, but for being needy and unfit for life’s challenges; they are more likely to become unhappy unless all goes their way. I suggest that we let children experience real life. No, not create pain for them on purpose, and not be rude to them to drill them in suffering. What I mean is to allow reasonable and safe unfavorable events to unfold while nurturing resilience, sense of humor, and seeing the larger picture with gratitude.
In other words: Stop teaching the child to escape the storm, and instead, dance with her in the rain.
By distracting, offering compensations and jumping through hoops to make everything all good, we forget that happiness is a state of mind that can makes it possible to go through challenging times and not the other way around. Happiness is the tool by which a human being is able to go through life’s experiences with appreciation and inner strength. Instead of passing on to children the need to depend on circumstances for their joy, impart the ability to feel happy for being here, and grateful through the many colors of this amazing ride.
Copyright Naomi Aldort