06 April 2018
Why do some children melt into a pile of tears at the first sign of difficulties while others appear to thrive despite facing trauma? Why do some children persist in the face of failure while others give up easily? Why do some children rise to the challenge of learning something new while others avoid learning? What makes the difference?
Resilience. It’s the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s grit. It’s toughness. It’s the ability to bounce back.
Research conducted in Australia in 2014 by psychologist Andrew Fuller, examined the differences between children with high and low levels of resilience. Children with high levels of resilience (around 60%) almost all agreed strongly with these two statements:
• I have a parent who cares about me.
• I have a parent who listens to me.
How would your child respond to those statements? Why not ask? Take a deep breath, put aside your parent guilt and have an honest conversation with your child. Ask them what you do/could do to make them feel cared for. Ask them how they would rate your effort/skill with listening. Each child is different and what they need from you in order to feel valued and heard will vary.
Our relationships with our children are critical to their sense of identity, belonging and self-esteem. The great news is that it is never too late to make positive changes to these relationships.
Here are some simple ideas for making lasting connections:
• Put down the technology and talk. Give your child your full and undivided attention. Make eye contact and really listen.
• Have one-on-one time with each of your children. This may mean sharing afternoon tea, kicking a ball or reading a book together. Make it a weekly date.
• Put children up the to-do list. Make your children your top priority. Be there when they need you. The dishes and housework can wait. Children need to know that if they need you, you are there for them.
• Write notes. Reading affirmations and positive messages has a powerful impact. The great thing about notes is that they can be stored and read repeatedly!
Every child who believes in themselves had a parent who believed in them first. Take the challenge to connect, care and listen in order to help build resilience.
Head of Primary, Avondale School