Resilient children have several advantages. They are capable of:
–preserving when problems arise
–struggle less with the trauma, including the trauma of adoption.
Developing resilience in your children.
1. Challenge your child
Children need to feel they can accomplish something. They need to feel competent. Find age-appropriate challenges for them, whether taking a hike, washing the car, or mastering math facts.
2. Allow your child to make decisions
These decision-making skills can start with choosing something as simple as pink or purple pajamas. Then they learn from the consequences of those decisions. If they decide not to eat breakfast before school, they will be hungry by lunchtime. This, of course, doesn’t work for all children. I had a daughter who would never eat, so her consequence about eating had to be developed by myself.
3. Recognize no one is perfect.
Everyone makes mistakes. Let them know that is okay.
4. Allow them to be them
Allow your child to NOT fit in. If they want to wear clothes similar to others, let them. If they want to paint purple dogs rather than white cats, let them.
5. Give specific praise which is associated with the efforts.
Substitute “You’re a great kid.” with “I liked how you walked so far on our hike today. You put in a lot of effort.”
Substitute “You’re a smart kid.” with “You really worked hard learning the math facts.
6. Foster connections with others.
Allow and encourage social connections with positive friends, role models, teachers, and other caregivers. This includes the biological family when possible. Knowing they have someone in their corner during setbacks creates resilience.
7. Ensure they contribute.
Everyone, old or young, must feel that what they do matters. Talk to your child about how his actions helped the group be successful. This will encourage them to work harder, learn more, and develop resiliency.