Resilience in Middle & High school children- Guide to confident Problem Solving.
The challenges in our children’s world are not going to simplify any time soon. They will be challenged time and again, with fresh puzzles to solve.But what am I trying to achieve by building up this fear in You? I am simply raising your consciousness of handling reality with resilience . With this new understanding of the present day challenges , I urge to help you raise the bar of what our kids in middle and high school can do to outsmart the many problems & challenges that abound.It is essential that our kids meet the pressures of life with confidence and perseverance and bounce back smarter. This quality can be taught and is popularly called RESILIENCE.
- Resilient kids are optimistic and look at brighter side of people , situations and life;
- Resilient kids take ownership of how they behave, how they do certain things and above all how they feel at different points in time;
- Resilient kids have a considerable amount of personal control over what they are feeling and how much of that has to be expressed.Also expressing it in win-win ways is their primary response.
ROLE OF PARENTS IN RAISING RESILIENT CHILDREN:
According to Dr.Brooks and Dr.Goldstin, If your actions and words match and you never find your child’s questions irrelevant , you raise your chances of being successful at raising Resilient kids.
- Parents need to accept their kids in all their uniqueness.
- They should have realistic goals and expectations from themselves and from their kids, leading to a more satisfying and less-stressed parent- child relationship.(More on Parent child relationship markers here)
- Focusing on their strengths and teaching them on playing the game of life on their strengths is far more better than harping on their weaknesses;
- Viewing mistakes as opportunities to learn and experiences to master the other ways to a solution always helps. Belittling and demeaning comment will only derail the process of raining resilience in them.
- Nurturing a positive self view and a sensible problem-solving skills with a reasonable decision making builds their sense of self and their self esteem
- Discipline is the stepping stone to building their self esteem and self confidence, Use discipline to show that they are loved and cared for but make sure they realize that they cant’t get away with whatever they want.Never use discipline to intimidate or humiliate children as it usually backfires
- Be resilient yourself- focus on two main components of resilience- Decision making and Problem solving. Both of these will develop the sense of control over their lives and thus a resilience mindset
- Make connections , teach your child to make friends,watch that the kids don’t get isolated , help them find comfort in connecting with a higher power whether through organised religion , your traditions to worship or any other ways you like. This will foster empathy , feeling other’s pain and provide social support and resilience.
- Do not underestimate the power of having a daily routine.Younger children specially crave for more structure in their lives to feel in control overall. Let the children have a say in developing his or her routines.
- Endless worries around routines need to be taken care of as it is counter productive to our purpose.Be careful of what your child is being exposed to that can be troubling.
- Screen the news , the internet or the over heard conversations and ensure that the child learns to take a break from anything that troubles them proactively.
- Reset your beliefs around change. Keep them positive. Think and voice your optimism often like ‘CHANGE IS PART OF LIVING’ or ‘CHANGE IS GOOD’ . Let your child see how changing from lower grades to higher ones have resulted in a better version of them.
DEVELOPING RESILIENCE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS:- Middle school is a time of balancing higher academic and social expectations that start to build up around them.
- Keep reinforcing your empathy around the feelings of your middle school children around shifting social alliances at school or in playgrounds.It pays to help them understand the volatile nature of these social groups and how they keep shifting back and forth in week’s time.These associations mean the world to our kids , they might feel lonely, undesirable and confused.
- This is the time they get old enough to appreciate some grey areas like stressful situations, death of loved ones, emergencies etc. Talk to them about your feelings during times of intense stress like the death in a family or an impending separation. Let them know in clear terms that you ll leave no room for doubt when it comes to making it all safe for them. Sharing a definite action plan to be implemented during emergencies will keep them decisively clam.
- Make them participate in house hold chores and family discussions. Their participation and opinions around family activities boosts their confidence around problem solving skills.
- Children who know they have a role to play at home , school and society and that they can and should help are more in control and confident.
- This is also a good time to let your children participate actively in volunteer activities. This gives a good idea of what goes around , comes back. This ensures they take enough responsibility of their effect on the world around.
DEVELOPING RESILIENCE IN HIGH SCHOOL CHILDREN -: Teenager years are also the high school years! iska matlab kya hai aapke liye:) ? simply put its a period of our children’s life where extreme physical , psychological and cognitive changes abound. Though our teens tower over us but they are still quite vulnerable. They seem to be volatile and many parents struggle to connect with them .
Here’s what need to be done to gift them their dose of RESILIENCE-:
- Talk is the quintessential solution to all things around teens…remember to talk in a non- preachy , non-judgemental manner and with reassurance. While they may be selective in talking around stuff particularly if you haven’t built good channels of conversation while they were growing up. Talking while in a car , doing chores together works. Also talking about what’s happening and what are their feelings around them helps.
- Make the home an emotionally secure place. Though high school kids prefer to spend more time with their friends but a home is a constant in their life. They seek love , independence , unconditional acceptance , safety , bonding , and so much more from this safest haven in the world.
- News channels are constantly showing stuff that is negative and raises doubt about the world in general. Use the painful episodes to initiate a discussion around their hopes , aspirations , dreams , future plans , fears and managing expectations.
- Peer pressure has assumed alarming proportions today and so is the scenario around Bullying- both online and offline. Be understanding and firm around their highs and lows around such episodes and be on an active look out for symptoms of any stress .
- Encourage them to explore the many leadership cum strategy programs to ace their game around the ever increasing expectations around studies , social graces and a robust future plan.
- Encourage them to participate in community service programs to help them see their bigger purpose in life.
I used these pointers while I was nurturing my kids and its so comforting to see them grow into confident young adults who value their schedules and routines, crave for a family-time: ” our quintessential FAMILY-HUG once in a day and keep it sacred till today. They are ‘okay’ talking around their challenges and seek ways to better their confidence in their decisions on an ongoing basis.
To sum it all up, Resilience is the only way forward to raise kids who can handle their problems and spring back quick and fast. The parents role assumes great importance in this process and knowing what to do to raise a resilient child in a MIDDLE / HIGH SCHOOLER is half the battle done.
Let me know how many of these suggestions you are already putting into action with your Middle/high school children . Do share how is it all shaping up at your end.
Watch this space for are a quick and effective way to enhance Resilience in your Senior School children soon!!!
Talking in the cars has always my go-to option. I have comfortably discussed some tricky sounding topics with my daughter while driving. And by the end of the drive, we were clear about our views.