We are sending our children into a future filled with stress and
conflict. Parents and teachers have the responsibility to model
behaviors and teach skills that will enable our children to be
productive, accepting, healthy, and above all, resilient.
1. Self-understanding and acceptance
Self-esteem is a
realistic estimate of your own capabilities and worth. People
with high self-esteem are productive, responsive, imaginative,
and attentive to the needs of others. Encourage your children to
develop their natural aptitudes and interests. Set them up for
success. Empower them to be more responsible.
understanding and acceptance
Give your children regular,
focused, undivided attention. This, more than anything else,
communicates your unconditional love.
We are what we think. Fill your language with
statements that help your children see change in a positive way,
to view adversity as manageable, to persist until they are
successful, and to become more oriented to the needs of others.
Prepare your children for the reality that others may not think
or believe like they do. Teach your children to identify
positive and negative feelings in themselves and others.
Replacing destructive thinking with constructive thinking
increases self-esteem and improves coping skills.
Good decision-making strategies
Making a good decision
requires the ability to generate alternative solutions to a
problem, predict consequences, view the problem from the
perspective of others, and consider how to implement
alternatives to reach a solution. Children as young as four or
five can usually generate alternatives and predict consequences,
but advanced decision making skills come later. Model good
decision making for your children. Show children how characters
in stories make decisions. Let your children make their own
decisions whenever possible.
5. Stress-coping strategies
It's not too early to teach children physical relaxation
exercises like breathing techniques, some forms of meditation,
imagery, and muscle relaxation exercises. Help your children
learn to recognize their own stress triggers and responses, and
identify which relaxation methods work best for them. And help
your kids laugh--read funny stories, watch age-appropriate
comedies, and laugh at their jokes.
6. Good nutrition
Good nutrition optimizes the way your mind
and body works. A well-functioning mind and healthy body
increase our self-esteem and resiliency. Make aerobic exercise
and recreation a family affair. If your children see you
exercise, they are more likely to take it up themselves and
develop a lifelong positive habit.
7. A sense of purpose
and commitment to personal and social goals
to goals gives meaning and value to life, and a reason for
existence. Children should have more than one goal, and their
goals should be realistic. Teach them to be flexible in how they
achieve their goals, and help them learn persistence when
progress is slow.
8. Social skills and social supports
Healthy relationships build self-esteem and protect from the
negative effects of stress. Help your children to build
self-awareness skills and to see situations from another's point
of view. Teach them to positively manage conflict and
Resilient children grow up to be adults
who have a sense of control, a positive view of change, and an
ability to find meaning and value in life. Now doesn't that
describe the kind of people you want to have running the world
when you retire?
About the Author:
Art Turner is a writer, musician, and creator of
Relaxation Emporium, where you can learn more
about stress, stress management, and relaxation techniques.