Lately, my little man has had to deal with some adversity and tough times in his life. His beloved grandmother passed away, his best buddy is moving to another country, and he has been let down by a few adults around him. It makes me sad to see him (or any child) go through a rough stretch but there are some positive things that kids can learn in these situations where they have to deal with adversity.
One of the greatest lessons to be learned is resiliency. How do children act when trouble shows up. Resiliency is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, disappointment, or other significant sources of stress. In short, resiliency is the ability to “bounce back” from difficult experiences. People regularly demonstrate resiliency, it is not an extraordinary trait but it does take a while to learn. Resilient people have certain skills and abilities in common and I firmly believe that it is never too early to start teaching these skills to children.
How To Help Your Child Deal With Adversity:
Here are 10 things that resilient people do on a regular basis:
- They are social and they develop healthy relationships. They interact with other people easily.
- They are optimistic and look at the world, and their future, in a positive way.
- They are flexible and accept that change is a part of life.
- Self confidence is a big part of their world. They move toward goals and base their choices on they own instincts. They have great confidence in their own abilities.
- They are competent and are good at something (or many things). They are aware of their own skills.
- They have insightfulness and understand people and situations.
- They persevere. They continue on despite difficulty and don’t give up.
- They keep things in perspective and try to see even difficult situations in the right light. A crisis is a challenge to be faced, rather than an insurmountable obstacle.
- They show self control and manage strong feelings and impulses wisely.
- They have thick skin. There will always be people who don’t like them or agree with them but they know to not take it personally.
Teaching Kids Resiliency And How To Deal With Adversity:
So, with all of that said, how do we teach these traits to our children? Obviously the best way is to lead by example but there are also simple and easy steps to take to help them learn.
- Teach them problem solving strategies and real world ways of getting things accomplished.
- Be a role model of empathy and tolerance. Show them that doing the right thing and being a good person is always the correct choice – even when it is hard.
- Promote strong adult-child relationships that are characterized by positive communication. This can be done anywhere and everywhere including at school, at home, on the playground, in athletics, etc.
- Interact warmly and try to limit criticism. Positive reinforcement goes a long way – with kids and adults!
- Promote sharing of responsibilities and service to others.
- Teach relationship building skills. How to handle conflict – both verbally and non verbally.
- Initiate conversations about emotions and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Offer positive suggestions for expressing emotions.
- Be honest. Tell them that life is not always easy but also tell them that difficulty is something that can be handled.
- Constantly let them know that challenges and set backs are not permanent and anything can be figured out. Believing that they can conquer the world is half the battle!
I hope you found these tips for how to help your child deal with adversity and for teaching resiliency useful. Helping your children (and the children around you) develop resiliency will enable them to better manage any crisis or stress they they might experience. Everyday life is often tough but you and your child are tougher! What are your tips for teaching kids to deal with adversity?
Rob Youngblood is an Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Men’s Life and Style Expert, Communication Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and A Guy Who Talks for a Living! Learn more about him at youngbloodlifeandstyle.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.