We are sending our children into a future filled with
stress and conflict. Parents and teachers have the responsibility to model
behaviors and teach skills that will enable our children to be productive,
accepting, healthy, and above all, resilient.
1. Self-understanding and acceptance
Self-esteem is a realistic estimate of your own capabilities
and worth. People with high self-esteem are productive, responsive, imaginative,
and attentive to the needs of others. Encourage your children to develop
their natural aptitudes and interests. Set them up for success. Empower
them to be more responsible.
2. Adults' understanding and acceptance
Give your children regular, focused, undivided attention.
This, more than anything else, communicates your unconditional love.
3. Constructive thinking
We are what we think. Fill your language with statements
that help your children see change in a positive way, to view adversity
as manageable, to persist until they are successful, and to become more
oriented to the needs of others. Prepare your children for the reality
that others may not think or believe like they do. Teach your children
to identify positive and negative feelings in themselves and others. Replacing
destructive thinking with constructive thinking increases self-esteem and
improves coping skills.
4. Good decision-making strategies
Making a good decision requires the ability to generate
alternative solutions to a problem, predict consequences, view the problem
from the perspective of others, and consider how to implement alternatives
to reach a solution. Children as young as four or five can usually generate
alternatives and predict consequences, but advanced decision making skills
come later. Model good decision making for your children. Show children
how characters in stories make decisions. Let your children make their
own decisions whenever possible.
5. Stress-coping strategies
It's not too early to teach children physical relaxation
exercises like breathing techniques, some forms of meditation, imagery,
and muscle relaxation exercises. Help your children learn to recognize
their own stress triggers and responses, and identify which relaxation
methods work best for them. And help your kids laugh--read funny stories,
watch age-appropriate comedies, and laugh at their jokes.
6. Good nutrition and exercise
Good nutrition optimizes the way your mind and body works.
A well-functioning mind and healthy body increase our self-esteem and resiliency.
Make aerobic exercise and recreation a family affair. If your children
see you exercise, they are more likely to take it up themselves and develop
a lifelong positive habit.
7. A sense of purpose and commitment to personal and social
Commitment to goals gives meaning and value to life, and
a reason for existence. Children should have more than one goal, and their
goals should be realistic. Teach them to be flexible in how they achieve
their goals, and help them learn persistence when progress is slow.
8. Social skills and social supports
Healthy relationships build self-esteem and protect from
the negative effects of stress. Help your children to build self-awareness
skills and to see situations from another's point of view. Teach them to
positively manage conflict and disagreement.
Resilient children grow up to be adults who have a sense
of control, a positive view of change, and an ability to find meaning and
value in life. Now doesn't that describe the kind of people you want to
have running the world when you retire?
About The Author
Art Turner is a writer, musician, and creator of Relaxation
Emporium, where you can learn more about stress, stress management, and
relaxation techniques. Visit http://www.relaxationemporium.com