26 HARDEN UP, KID
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