5 steps to raise a confident and resilient child

Give your child the necessary tools to handle the challenges of adolescence and can make their way to adulthood successfully.

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Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. As kids learn by imitating, parents are their first teachers and role models.

Although it is impossible to be a ‘perfect’ parent, the example you set plays an important role in determining your little one’s behaviour. Kids start to cultivate proper habits when they see good behaviour being practised in front of them constantly.

For example, making a conscientious effort to look both ways when you are crossing the street will encourage your child to do the same whenever he crosses the street next time.

Children’s lives have now become more complex than before because of their increased exposure to technology. What parents faced as kids is different from what children today are experiencing. Not only is the pace in which they are growing faster, they are also dealing with many more challenges. This include higher levels of academic pressure and competition from their peers. As parents will not always be there for their child, junior has to learn to ask for help and solve their own problems.

“Not only do resilient children know how to relieve stress themselves, they are also more confident, have good problem-solving skills, not sweat the small stuff and tend to be happier.”

Vyda S Chai, a clinical psychologist at Think Psychological Services, states that learning how to manage stressful events such as academic pressure, friendship issues and bullying, are part and parcel of growing up.

Parents will not always be able to protect their children from these situations, so it’s best to ensure that they acquire resilience, which will help them to respond positively in stressful situations.

Not only do resilient children know how to relieve stress themselves, they are also more confident, have good problem-solving skills, not sweat the small stuff and tend to be happier. They will also grow up to be more insightful individuals and are better at forming relationships with others. They are resourceful when dealing with stressful life issues, and have the ability to work towards success.

Try these strategies to raise a confident and resilient child:

#1 Don’t shield your child from mistakes
Train them to recognise mistakes, problem solve, and work through the challenges by themselves, instead of correcting them and shielding them from making the mistake. Experiencing the feeling of failure, and knowing how to get back up afterwards is a very important life skill. You can be make sure you’re present to provide emotional support and encouragement, but let your little one figure out a solution by himself without stepping in.

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#2 Acknowledge effort, not just results
Instead of focusing only on the end results, look at the effort they put in along the way as well. Empathise with your child when they get frustrated with their work. Although they might cry and sulk, your unconditional understanding will help them pull through. They will then learn from this encounter and pull themselves together to try again the next day. Always be reassuring and cultivate your child’s confidence ― this is how children develop resilience.

#3 Let them become problem solvers
Whenever we jump in to provide comfort, we get in the way of our children’s ability to develop their own problem-solving skills. Overprotecting your little one will only fuel their anxiety over time. Sometimes, we make mistakes, so that we can learn from them.

Resilient children are better able to navigate the inevitable trials, triumphs and tribulations of childhood and adolescence.”

Focus on the specific skills he’ll need to learn in order to handle certain situations. For example, if your peewee misplaces his favourite toy at home, get him to think about where he last played with it, which increases his probability of finding it.

Avoid overusing “why” questions when addressing mistakes, instead, ask your child “how” they think they can fix it or make it better. Resilient children are better able to navigate the inevitable trials, triumphs and tribulations of childhood and adolescence. They will also become resilient adults who are able to survive and thrive in the face of life’s inevitable stresses.

#4 Do not always try to perfect your child’s work
Resist the temptation to “improve” on your child’s masterpiece. Constant intervention undermines a child's confidence and prevents him from learning on his own. What you can do is to lay the foundation for your child to work on, so as to increase their ability to succeed, instead of watching them fail over and over again.

#5 Rein in your own anxiety and frustration levels
It can be easy to lose your temper, especially when junior gets into trouble after ignoring your advice. Always try to remain calm and be present for him. Keep your thoughts and actions to yourself ― only speak up when your child really needs your help or asks for your advice. When this happens, remember to provide the appropriate encouragement as well.

Resilience is the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress. Helping your child acquire resilience is important in building a confident and well-rounded child. A person who has little or no confidence will see his coping abilities crumble under adverse conditions.

Photos: iStock

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