26 HARDEN UP, KID

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - SUSIE O’BRIEN

PAR­ENTS are rais­ing a gen­er­a­tion of kids with “re­silient deficit dis­or­der” who are scared to try new things be­cause they may fail, ex­perts say.

A new book, Rais­ing Re­silient Kids, of­fers prac­ti­cal strate­gies for rais­ing more in­de­pen­dent chil­dren, such as let­ting them have more free play time, carry their own school bags and choose their own friends.

Ac­cord­ing to one con­trib­u­tor, psy­chol­o­gist Michael Carr-Gregg, chil­dren can be taught to be re­silient and bounce back from ad­ver­sity.

“Re­silience is not a rare abil­ity. In re­al­ity, it can be found in the av­er­age in­di­vid­ual and it can be learned and de­vel­oped by vir­tu­ally any­one,” he says in the book.

He said those with re­silience were not with­out neg­a­tive thoughts, but had ef­fec­tive cop­ing tech­niques that helped them ef­fec­tively nav­i­gate through a cri­sis.

Dr Carr-Gregg said schools and kinder­gartens, along with par­ents, con­trib­uted to the re­silience cri­sis.

“In kin­der­garten, child­hood games like mu­si­cal chairs and pass the par­cel have been changed so no one loses and ev­ery­one gets a prize,” he said.

He wants par­ents to say no more of­ten and set lim­its and bound­aries.

Dr Carr-Gregg said the word no had “fallen out of fash­ion with par­ents, with many opt­ing for a more friendly, egal­i­tar­ian ap­proach”. He also ad­vo­cates es­tab­lish­ing lim­its for older chil­dren for is­sues such as sleep, ex­er­cise, al­co­hol and diet.

Wendy Ma­son, an early learn­ing ed­u­ca­tor and au­thor, said many chil­dren had every­thing done for them by their par­ents which meant they “have no au­ton­omy and are not in con­trol of them­selves”.

She wants par­ents to let kids do more things for them­selves, such as car­ry­ing their own school bags, en­gag­ing in imag­i­na­tive play and mak­ing mis­takes.

Mother-of-two Melissa Quinn, 34, is keen to de­velop re­silience in her daugh­ter, Amelia, 7, and son, Owen, 6.

She and hus­band Kevin moved to Pack­en­ham Up­per on the out­skirts of Mel­bourne to give their chil­dren a chance to “grow up away from screens and be­come out­door kids”.

“They are very ac­tive and climb trees, ride bikes and have ad­ven­tures,” she said. “They have a lot of free­dom which they love.”

Amelia and Owen love hav­ing ad­ven­tures and play­ing out­side. Pic­ture: JOSIE HAY­DEN Give them lots of love — show un­der­stand­ing and re­spect Give chil­dren time to help them build trust­ing re­la­tion­ships Let them fail so they will learn to per­sist through hard times Let them do things for them­selves such as carry their own school bags Give them lots of in­de­pen­dent play out­side and let them man­age their own play time

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