Raising Resilient Children

My father was 21 and my mother 19 when they married in 1962.  My mother gave my father an ultimatum.  He could choose her, or he could choose the Navy.  He chose her, then later joined the Navy.  I can remember my mother telling stories about how she would look for spare change in parking lots while my dad was serving at the Virginia Beach Naval Base.

I have three brothers.  We were born between 1963 and 1969.  We were not wealthy by any measure, but we were not raised to wallow in pity for the things we didn’t have.  We were part of the “tough love” generation.  You got what you got and you were grateful for it.  You didn’t show off.  Humility was instilled by your relatives, sometimes in quick and painful ways.  While we didn’t realize it then, our parents raised us to be resilient.

Children today seem to lack resilience.  They struggle when things don’t go their way and seem to have few strategies for dealing with the roadblocks that life places before them.  While the challenges of growing up in the new millennium are much different than in the 60s, resilience seems to be more important now than ever.

One can speculate on why things have changed.  Do modern parents give their children too much?  Do they go to great measures to keep from disappointing them?  Do they run interference for any and every problem they face?  The answer to all three questions is probably, yes.

The reasons why children lack resilience are intriguing. It’s more productive, however, to focus on building resilience in the modern child.  What tools can we give children so they are better able to handle the stress of growing up in today’s world?

Margarita Tartakovsky provides tips for raising resilient children at psychcentral.com.

Tartakovsky’s advice includes:

-Help them become problem solvers- they’ll need lots of practice
-Don’t give them everything, or give in to everything they demand
-Don’t give them all the answers
-Let them make mistakes
-Model resilience

What seems certain is that parents and schools will need to partner in their resilience-building efforts.  By working together, parents and educators can provide children with opportunities to demonstrate their resilience skills in safe and supportive settings.

See the links below for more information on helping children be more resilient:



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