© Judy H. Wright, www.ArtichokePresss.com
How does your child handle disappointment? What happens when they don’t win the game, election or friend? Do they want to quit the team when they are not chosen for play?
Do they assume responsibility for their choices and decisions? Can they bounce-back when they make mistakes? Are they problem solvers and able to decide what to do next time?
Talk about Plan B
Being resilient and responsible means that sometimes you are going to lose or make mistakes. Do your kids understand that it is okay to fail sometimes?
Resilience helps people deal with stress, disadvantages or even trauma. The ability to have a plan B or to see an obstacle as a learning experience rather than a failure enhances the confidence of all of us, adult and child alike.
The road to success is made up of lots of pebbles and potholes as well as a few rocks and curves that are unexpected. The ability to bounce back from adversity and try again is a life skill that can be taught. The best teacher is assuming responsibility for areas under your control, and not blaming others or ourselves for circumstances beyond our control. Self blame is common, but can be destructive and begin a downward spiral towards low esteem and lack of confidence. It is better to understand that sometimes it is just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the way the cookie crumbles or we can’t control how others think and act.
Help Them be Problem Solvers
Wise parents, teachers and caregivers help children to problem solve, rather than solve the problem for them. They assist the child to look creatively at other solutions and decide what to do next time. If they are open to verbalizing, don’t interrupt or put words in their mouth or tell them “Well, you shoulda, coulda, woulda.” It is their problem, have confidence in their ability to solve it.
You may want to point out their positive attributes by saying something like; “Boy, that must have hurt your feelings because you are careful to make sure everyone gets a turn.” Another powerful phrase that strengthens the resolve to find answers is to say: “I have confidence in you. You have a good mind and soul. You will come up with a solution that will be fair. If you need assistance, I am here for you.”
Allow them to be self reflective and look at the problem realistically without dwelling on what went wrong. Your part is to be a good listener and support them as they come up with plans to bounce back. You may want to ask them if they need some alone time to listen to music or play with the dog or kick the soccer ball to think about what happened and how they will handle a similar situation in the future.
Help Them be Optimistic About the Future
Self esteem is multi-dimensional: it is important to feel good about yourself in several different areas and skill sets (setting boundaries on how you want to be treated, apologizing when you are wrong, asking for what you want etc.) so that you can weather the occasional failure that life brings. Recognizing that setbacks are temporary and do not reflect on the inner core of who you are helps children move on quickly from disappointments. When the adults around them model positive coping strategies, it will become easier and easier to bounce back.
About the author:
Judy H. Wright is a life educator and author who is lucky enough to live in beautiful Montana. For a free report on the Power of Encouraging Words see http://www.UseEncouragingWords.com or check out www.ArtichokePress.com