I hear all too often the anguish of parents when their child hasn’t achieved as they thought they should in an academic assessment, an eisteddfod, an audition, a race or a tournament. This should be the beginning of an important life skill: Resilience.
More than anything our children – and all of us really – need to develop the skills to overcome challenges and setbacks. We must have the ability to bounce back or to adapt when things don’t go as planned. Let’s face it – life will not go as planned. Will your child have the skills to turn adversity into something positive? And does the act of winning all the time teach us lifelong lessons?
The power lies with you as the parent and carers of our students. It is not easy to see our children have a setback, and we just want to take their disappointment away. Facing these disappointments and learning from challenges can help build the vital life skill of resilience. As a parent we often want to jump in and rescue our children often to the detriment of the life skill that could be learnt. Learning from setbacks can empower our children.
When things are not going well our children need support from their parents. Use the opportunity to talk to your child about what could be done differently, what strategies could have been employed, or could there have been better preparation? Sometimes it is a matter of explaining that life doesn’t always appear fair, but it is all part of the learning and growth process. Most importantly, encourage your child to resist the temptation to run away from a challenge.
Building resilience doesn’t come easily but it is worth the challenge. Resilient and pragmatic parents will make for resilient and pragmatic children.
Maxine Kohler, MEd