HOW TO BECOME A RESILIENT PARENT
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.