When I was a young boy, my parents sheltered me from bad things. They didn’t expose me to much uncertainty or discomfort. Mom and Dad focused on my siblings and me doing well in school. I didn’t have chores, and I didn’t have much stress, except being bullied at school. I never had a job until my last summer before college.
It is important that parents provide certainty in our children’s life; i.e. food, housing, comfort, etc.; however, I do think we need to ensure our kids can develop their own problem-solving skills. A couple of things we work hard on with our boys is having them focus on solving their own problems. When you think about having siblings, it is natural for them to fight (sadly). We are quick to say, figure it out. Running to the rescue does nothing for our kids. The other thing we do is let our boys solve any problem they can possibly figure out. Something as small as putting their clothes on, their shoes, finding the “right” color, are all simple things we can do to encourage them to ‘solve it themselves.’
I am guilty of enabling my 5-year-old son to be a little too comfortable when it comes to where he sleeps at night. He always ends up in my bed around 01:30-03:00. There isn’t really a reason for him coming into my bed every night; however, I am sure it is rooted in being safer / more comfortable in my bed. I must do better 🙂 He is just cute.
So, to exercise your kid’s ability to be resilient, some suggestions:
- Create opportunities for your child to have to solve a problem. It can be as simple as a puzzle, encouraging them to be patient, learning a dance routine, or martial arts.
- Give you children chores when they are able. Something as simple as setting the table at a very young age can give your child a good challenge (how many plates, forks, etc.).
- Explain to them how you solve a problem. The most powerful way to teach is to do in front of them.
Emotional intelligence is extremely valuable to everyone. You see the lack of it in droves today in the news. Kids who were spoiled and don’t understand why they don’t get something for free; the movement from rugged individualism to collective, socialist-leaning political parties, and the phenomena of ‘participation’ awards. It is key for our kids to understand how to handle adversity effectively.