My kids and I watched for what felt like the longest seconds of our lives as the water level of the toilet slowly inched upward. It was as if we could do nothing but wait. Gulp. Spoiler alert—the toilet overflowed and we stood there helpless. Then it was the mad scramble to clean up a total disaster.
We’ve all been there—that moment when something awful is about to go down and you’re not quite sure how to respond. Those unpredictable, harried incidents might as well be classified under typical family life. It’s not about if you’ll get “life-d,” but when it will happen.It’s crucial that parents are prepared for those unexpected, but inevitable events that threaten the growth and stability of families, so we don’t just stand by feeling utterly helpless. And we’re not just talking about toilet back-ups..
What about when kids—
- Experience or witness bullying on the playground?
- Encounter inappropriate behavior from an adult?
- Are challenged by their peers regarding family rules or values?
- Mess up and don’t know how to get out of the situation in a healthy way?
- Face internet filth?
Is your family prepared to rise up to the challenges that are about to be thrown at them? In a way that promotes positivity, empowerment, and growth?
Building the character strength of resilience is the answer!
Resilience equips our children to battle the inevitable ups and downs of a topsy-turvy world. Our culture will always be a bit off-kilter, but we can ground our kids on a solid foundation of resilience.
First off, what does it mean to be resilient?
It’s the ability to adapt well to challenges, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Resilience is the character strength that can help our kids cope in a healthy way with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
The good news is, according to the American Psychological Association, resilience can be learned and there are ways to cultivate these skills in our kids. It just takes encouragement from mom and dad, and some good old-fashioned practice.
Secondly, how do we get resilience if we aren’t born with it?
3 Tips to Fortify Kids with Resilience:
Help Them Maintain a Hopeful Perspective
Regularly remind kids that they need to have a big picture outlook. When we zoom out and see the many times we’ve overcome difficulties and struggles, we gain confidence in our abilities. “This seems like a huge terrible deal right now, but someday you’ll be able to appreciate all the skills that you learned from this experience.” Encourage them by recognizing how their good choices and behaviors in the past led them to overcoming obstacles. Hope is a habit that must be practiced each day.
Nobody likes abrupt, unexpected changes. But often, that is how they present themselves. When kids are taught that the only thing truly constant in life is change, they can become less rigid. It’s the difference of stiffening up before a big fall. We may do that to protect ourselves, but it can cause more trauma. Conversely, by reminding kids that change is a fact of life, they can become more adaptable which allows them to lean-in to a tumble. They become better decision makers. When we are not overwhelmed by emotions, we can make choices that are calculated and researched.
Cultivate a Positive Self Image
Confident kids are less likely to panic in a tough spot. Regularly “catch” your children doing good. This helps them have trust in their own abilities. Help them to see mistakes as something to celebrate rather than a reason to tear themselves down. Mistakes should be seen as learning opportunities. Kids who are afraid to mess up will still mess up and often they won’t have the resilience to rise up out of it. Instead, it often leads to more mistakes. Embracing failure helps us have a positive self-image. Parents can help by modeling this in tough spots. “I got in a car accident, but everyone’s ok and it’s going to help me to drive more carefully.” Also, model self-care. When parents take the time to get sleep, exercise, and find healthy ways of coping, children are more likely to follow suit. Caring for one’s well-being leads to a more positive self worth.
I get knocked down, but I get up again
You are never gonna keep me down.
Remember, you and your children are never helpless! Whether it’s a flooded bathroom, an unexpected sickness, or unforseen world crises, tapping into the character strength of resilience will help your whole family come back stronger and smarter! Life happens (hello, backed-up toilet), but what distinguishes great success from failure is keeping at it and staying in the game.
For tangible tips to implement character strengths like resilience into your family routine...
check out our new subscription box experience, Adventure into Character. We fortify families in strength of character so they have what it takes to face any and all challenges with confidence. What value would you put on the peace-of-mind in knowing that your kids are equipped to fight their way out of any corner? Set them on the right path that leads to an Adventure into Character!
If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at Hello@FamiliesofCharacter.com. If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together!
Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.