Grit. Strength. Stamina. Flexibility. Resilience.
Call it what you will, we all want that ability to endure the inevitable trials and tribulations of life. The struggle is real. So, how do we teach our children how to “fall down seven times, stand up eight”? Teaching resilience to the next generation of men and women – our children is vital to their health and wellness and their future.
The first step (no surprise!) is to start with ourselves. Modeling by example is one of those parenting no-brainers that’s often easier said than done. One of the biggest obstacles, in this case, is vulnerability: How do we show our weaknesses to those we are meant to guide and protect—and still be the healthy heroes they need us to be?
One way is to share your struggles after the fact. While it’s certainly okay to be real in the moment (and, inevitably, this will happen through your parenting journey), a great place to start modeling resilience is to share a story of something you have overcome, either recently or when you were your child’s age.
“Wow! I just had this big work deadline that I was totally sure I was going to miss. We were having computer system crashes and some of our team members were out sick and everything was getting backed up. I was so stressed! Do you know what I did? (Pause.) I panicked. No kidding. I totally freaked out and even started looking over my resume´ at one point, because I thought I was going to get fired. But then, I decided that if I were going to get fired, I’d go out having given it my all—mostly because I thought I’d be more hire-able! (Laugh.)
So, last night, I stayed up all night just figuring out workarounds to every challenge. I wanted to quit a couple of times, especially when the sun started to come up and I wasn’t quite finished. It seemed impossible! But I made the deadline this morning just before the office opened. I sent our project to my boss with a message that I’d be a couple of hours late, because I was taking a much-needed nap. And my boss just sent this great message to our whole team, thanking me! I’m so glad I decided not to quit.”
Sharing stories of your own life is just one way to teach this skill. You can point it out when you see it in other places, too: In your friends’ and families’ lives, those of your children’s friends, as well as in movies, songs, books, and more. When the lessons are conversational, they can become “teachable moments” that are subtle enough, kids don’t know they’re learning. (Hint: This works for adult children, too.)
While it’s important to be subtle, you’ll also need to overtly teach the concept at some point. There are many online videos and other resources that explain “growth mindset” versus “fixed mindset,” or how to see failure as a natural part of the learning process. With handy acronyms and engaging cartoon mascots, these tools are memorable for children and grownups alike. Check out BigLifeJournal.com as one enlightening starting point, then expand your search into what works for your family.
Keep Trying Together.
A Cigna study of resilience in 2020 consistently found that connection and support boosted resilience for every population. We all know from our own life experiences that it’s far easier to bounce back when there is someone to catch our fall.
For more tools and strategies to support your family, visit CoachKiki.com and subscribe to the newsletter.
For more than 15 years, Coach Kiki has used The 3 Keys to Communication© to help sales pros & small biz owners cycle out of fight-or-flight in the moment through self-awareness & mindfulness.
With Coach Kiki & Kiddos, she now helps entrepreneuring families integrate each individual’s values to speak truth with love.