HOW TO BE­COME A RE­SILIENT PAR­ENT

New Idea - - New Kids -

Rais­ing re­silient kids has be­come the goal for this gen­er­a­tion, but what about par­ents? If we want to cul­ti­vate re­silience in our kids, then surely the first step is modelling it in our­selves.

That’s the key mes­sage from au­thor and ed­u­ca­tor Sharon Witt who be­lieves our kids are more in­flu­enced by what we do than what we say.

“You can’t be what you can’t see which is why it’s im­por­tant to model re­silience rather than sim­ply in­struct­ing them on how to over­come their own chal­lenges,” says Sharon, who re­cently pub­lished Rais­ing Re­silient Kids ($22.99, re­silient kid­scon­fer­ence.com.au), which has con­tri­bu­tions from ex­perts such as Dr Michael Carr-gregg, Su­san Mclean and Michael Grose. So how can par­ents build their own re­silience?

MODEL SELF-CARE

As Sharon says, we can’t be our best, strong­est, health­i­est ver­sions of our­selves if we’re not tak­ing care of our­selves. Read­ing a book, tak­ing part in a trivia night, go­ing camp­ing, join­ing a book club and myr­iad other pur­suits demon­strate to our kids that we value our down­time and that it’s smart to in­vest in our own well­be­ing.

BE HON­EST

Rather than pro­tect­ing our chil­dren from trauma we should be trans­par­ent about chal­lenges we are go­ing through. Giv­ing chil­dren in­for­ma­tion al­lows them to ask ques­tions and gain

con­trol and per­spec­tive.

DEVELOP A TRIBE

Shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences with trusted friends can make par­ent­ing less iso­lat­ing. As Sharon points out, par­ent­ing is a team sport and hav­ing a tribe pro­vides bal­last. “We’re of­ten scared about shar­ing, but when we do lean on peo­ple and share our story, we’re open­ing the door for them to share their sto­ries too,” she says.

KEEP PER­SPEC­TIVE

It’s so easy to catas­trophise if things go wrong, but build­ing re­silience in­volves main­tain­ing a sense of just how se­ri­ous some­thing is. There are al­ways worse things that can hap­pen, and get­ting through chal­lenges shows our kids that you can not only sur­vive but thrive.

SET BOUND­ARIES

Learn­ing to say “no” to our kids and our ca­reers is vi­tal for re­silience. When we push our­selves we risk burn­ing out but bound­aries pro­tect us and the chil­dren we are rais­ing. Like­wise, al­ways giv­ing in to our kids means they don’t learn to adapt and re­spond when things don’t go their way.

, SHOW YOUR KIDS IT S OK TO FAIL

If we share only our suc­cesses, our chil­dren don’t learn that mis­takes can be worked through. As Sharon says, our kids aren’t go­ing to achieve ev­ery goal they set for them­selves so modelling how to re­spond to fail­ures and dis­ap­point­ments gives them the ar­moury to do so them­selves.

KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HU­MOUR

Be­ing able to laugh with your chil­dren shows them that prob­lems can be re­solved. As Sharon says: “Never take your­self too se­ri­ously.”

“JOHN WANTS HOW­EVER MANY KIDS I WANT. ARE WE READY RIGHT NOW? NO! I RE­ALLY LOVE HAV­ING TWO, BUT I THINK WHEN I’M 70, I’LL LOOK BACK AND SAY, ‘OH, I WISH I HAD MORE’. I CAN’T SEE MY­SELF REGRETTING HAV­ING A TON OF KIDS.” Chrissy Teigen, model, wife of John Leg­end and mother of two.

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