parents

The most important character trait we can pass onto our kids.

Bern with her daughter.

My daughter stood there, off to the side, all alone in that monstrous school hall. 13 years of age, and not knowing a soul. This was probably the most important day of her young adult life and I had failed to be there for her.

Yet, in hindsight, this was probably one of the most pivotal and life changing times in her young life, it was just that none of us realised it yet.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is brought to you by Australian Scholarships Group. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

Let me back up a bit and explain.

Not more than 3 months before that day, my husband and I came to the all too obvious conclusion that we needed a change. A change in jobs, a change in scenery and well, a change in our lives to basically keep us sane.

We had lived in the same place for our entire lives. The world around us seemed to be evolving and we weren’t just standing still, we were being pulled backwards. So we decided to move. To Melbourne. From the Gold Coast. I’m pretty sure I will forever be asked, especially in winter, “Why on earth did you move here when it’s heaven on earth up there?”

On top of this, we have three children. Three children that against their protestations, we uprooted and moved from the only safe place they knew and flung them into a totally foreign situation. At that stage, one had not yet started school, one had learning difficulties and the other was about to start High School, the hardest year of all. We either chose the worst time in our lives to make such a massive change, or the best.

Unfortunately, the day of Maddison’s orientation also happened to be the same and only day neither of us could leave work early. We were both new to our jobs and as much as I tried to get away, the fear of being “the Mum who would need to leave all the time for kid related stuff” overtook me. So that’s why my 13 year old daughter found herself alien and alone on an orientation day whilst every other child had their parents by their side. Horrible. Truly horrible. Or was it?

Upon arriving home that night, shielding my eyes from what I thought would be a barrage of insults, I found her on the couch, kind of upbeat. The sullen, scared child I’d dropped off that morning was sporting a confidence I could visibly see.

Apparently because she was alone, some girls had started talking to her and they’d all hung out. Not only that, they’d exchanged details and proceeded to catch up over the Summer before school started and became tight friends so that when school did start, she feared nothing. Would this have happened if I had been there? Almost definitely not.

The thing is, sometimes it’s good for us to get out of our comfort zone. Maddie learned that it is possible to endure a scary situation, a massive change and come out the other end, in one piece. She is in her second year of High School now and has some very lovely girlfriends. One’s that she met that very first day at Orientation.

Resilience is said to be the ability to recover readily from adversity. To have buoyancy. How do we go about building resilience in a child though?

Here’s the key to building resilience in babies and toddlers:

It is never too early (or too late) to begin building resilience in your child. Leigh Hay, author and editor at ASG has put together a useful list of practical strategies to help parents with this task.

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Tips for overcoming adversity and building resilience in children:

• unconditional love and acceptance

• some autonomy over their lives

• trusting relationships with significant adults

• feelings of independence

• secure relationships and strong role models to help foster friendships and commitment

• a safe and stable environment

• self-confidence and faith in themselves and their world.

Tips for building resilience in preschool children

Give unconditional support, nurturing and encouragement.

• Encourage and help your child practise calming strategies.

• Model self-esteem, confidence and optimism.

• Talk about appropriate behaviours.

• Encourage independent thought and action.

• Model and teach attitudes of empathy and ways of caring.

• Explain that all behaviour has consequences.

Some tips for building resilience in primary school children:

• Express love and support verbally and physically in age-appropriate ways.

• Use limits, calming behaviours, and verbal reminders to help your child manage negative feelings and impulses.

• Communicate your family values and rules by modelling desired behaviours.

• Explain to your child the reason for rules and expectations.

• Provide praise for specific desirable behaviours for example, sticking with and finishing a difficult homework assignment.

• Allow your child to deal with manageable adverse situations without your intervention. Provide support and assistance only after your child has had a chance to test their own solutions.

• Build a home environment that encourages open communication so that issues, expectations, feelings, and problems can be discussed.

A full range of helpful tips can be found HERE.

The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) offers a proven and proactive way to help parents nurture and offset the cost of their children’s education. In almost 40 years, more than 509,000 children have been enrolled with ASG and more than $1.8 billion in education benefits have been returned to our Members and their children.  ASG also offers a wide range of resources designed to help the many day-to-day challenges parents face in providing their children the best education possible.

For more information visit their website or download your free copy of ASG’s e-guide on “Building resilience in your child”.

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