When I see my kid flipping out over not getting a toy at the grocery store checkout aisle, scary things pop into my head. I picture my kid, in the future, throwing a pen across the room at their boss when they don’t get the promotion they want. I also picture them trying unsuccessfully to deal with things I have to deal with every day: road rage, a tantrum-y toddler, impatience over a failing recipe. And this is why I am determined to raise a resilient, problem-solving child, one who is able to roll with the punches life will inevitably throw their way.
Check out some common mistakes we, as parents, might make along the way:
1. Trying to fix everything. Instead of rushing to make sure life is comfortable for my kid, I want them to figure out how to solve their own issues. This goes for relationships, school, work, sports and other activities, etc. They’ll need to figure out how to deal with homesickness at camp, and you’ll need to help them by brainstorming and teaching them real ways to handle things.
2. Over-protecting them. Yes, we live in a crazy world, but your kid should be able to enjoy some freedoms, like walking to their friend’s house up the street, depending on their age and maturity level. If I drove my teenager, who has a licence, to work and to all of his activities because I’m scared he might get in an accident, I would never have time for my other kids, so I say a prayer and let him drive and try my best not to let him see how anxious I feel inside. (Pretty soon he’ll be doing it all the time by himself, anyway.)
3. Providing all of the answers. I’m a positive person by nature, so when one of my kids asks if they are going to like something, I say, “Of course you will!” Instead, I need to say, “I don’t know. What are you going to do if you can’t stand your first day of camp; this new meal I just made?” And when they get older, their new roommate, etc.?
4. Making sure they always succeed. Ah, mistakes. Such a part of life, and they are how we learn cool lessons about life! It’s tough to watch a child fail, but so satisfying to watch the creative ways they get back up. Learning consequences of actions is so important, and we can show our kid how to act by admitting when we make mistakes ourselves.
5. Dictating their emotions. No need to tell your kid to ‘suck it up’ because it’s okay to feel the emotions that come with making mistakes, learning new things, and being put in foreign situations. Model emotional resiliency for your child and you’ll raise an empathetic kid who realizes that talking things through and getting angry or crying when appropriate are a healthy part of being a human being (this includes not freaking out when your kid misses a goal or brings home a bad grade).
Your job is to gradually teach your child how to take care of themself and not be anxious about living their life. Let’s raise kids who are happy, successful, and who know how to bounce back from setbacks.
Kerrie is the home schooling mom of five. She loves to share her adventures of parenting and working from home at thekerrieshow.com.
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