Building Confidence and Resilience in Children
Resilience is not predetermined trait that children are either born with or their not – resilience can be learnt and fine-tuned by acquiring the appropriate life skills. The good news is, parents can play an active role in helping to build resilience and confidence in their children through honing in on the four main skills that resilient children are thought to have in common including: independence, problem solving, optimism and social connection. Here are five simple tips that can help parents to raise more resilient and confident children.
Learn to say no
Parents tread a fine line between placing too many restrictions on children and giving them too much freedom. Setting boundaries and sticking to them helps to teach your kids the essential coping skills they need to manage situations throughout their life when things don’t go their way. Remember, it’s a parent’s job to be a parent, which does not always mean you will be their best friend.
Look for opportunities to develop independence
Encourage your child to do small tasks by themselves, such as packing their own lunch for school, walking to school by themselves (or part the way) without you, or getting them involved in family meal preparation and cleaning up. Doing will help them to acquire a sense of responsibility and awareness of the consequence of their actions, whilst giving them a sense of purpose.
Don’t step in and problem solve too early
Relinquish some control and let your child attempt to tackle (some) of their everyday issues themselves. This could include problems with friends at school, not being picked for a sport team, or conflict with a teacher. Letting your child make decisions on their own gives them the opportunity to strategize their own methods to deal with situations and either be rewarded with the payoffs or learn from their mistakes.
Model positive behaviour
Be mindful of how you react to negative situations – if you have a ‘quitter’ attitude, chances are this will be rub off on your children too. Encouraging kids to keep going and to never give up, will help to shape their confidence and ability to ‘pick themselves up’ when faced with life’s obstacles.
Praise their achievements
Confidence is derived from competence. Make your child more aware of their strengths by reinforcing the things that they are good at and highlighting the qualities of their personality that stand out. Give praise where it’s due by acknowledging their achievements – however small.
Michael Grose, author of the parenting book ‘Thriving’ on raising kids with confidence and resilience says one of the main aims of parenting is to make yourself redundant, whereby he advises parents to “raise your small family with a big family mindset.” Check out what he has to say in this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n86EHCKDSZI
In October we will be running a structured family therapy treatment program called Cool Kids, designed to help children develop various practical skills and coping strategies to manage their anxiety more effectively. Research has shown that upon completing the program, there is an increase in children’s school attendance, academic achievement, confidence, number of friends and involvement in extra-curricular activities, alongside decreased worry, shyness, fear and family distress.
At Anxiety House we offer three levels of the Cool Kids program, each designed to suit children with varying needs and ages, for more information on Cool Kids see here:
Sophie Lucas is our Anxiety House blogger and is studying Bachelor of Communications at UQ. Sophie is passionate about anxiety recovery and loves to write about research and provide EDUCATION about anxiety. Sophie and Director Dr Emily O’Leary carefully think about each topic and try and provide the most up to date information. We have a number of scheduled blogs coming up, but we really want to hear your IDEAS! What topics would YOU like to know more about?
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