........ if we want our children to stand up to the inevitable challenges they will face in the future and keep going despite disappointment or frustration, we need to help our children develop resilience. This means they need to practice coping skills, and therefore need some challenges to practice these skills with.
Chelsea lists 25 everyday ideas to teach kids resilience. I look back on my parenting and realise, that although I practised many of these things, I was very much caught up in making life easy for my children. I would find that I got more caught up in their squabbles with friends than they did. And while I was busy trying to work them out they had left that particular problem behind, having sorted it out themselves. I now understand that the role of the parent is not about making our children's life happy but showing them the skills that will help them become healthy, well adjusted adults. I know on one level I did know this as a parent of young children but I don't think I really knew it.
I hear parents now arguing that they just want their children to be happy. They will do anything they can possibly do to bring that about. Showering them with gifts, giving into their every demand, treating them like adults by allowing them to engage in adult conversations, allowing them to watch TV programms with adult content, dressing them in adult style clothing, investing a lot of time in taxiing them to various activities. The list goes on, I'm sure you understand.
A book that I have recently read called The Good Life by Hugh Mackay looks at these very issues. Is the pursuit of happiness insulating us from living a good life. Are we setting our children up for failure by this desire to make them feel always happy and good about themselves. What happens when they are in a situation and they realise that they are not as wonderful as their parents made them out to be. In fact that they are selfish, self absorbed individuals with a highly inflated image of themselves. In his book Hugh looks at ways of diverting us from this path through living a life that brings a sense of deep satisfaction, through selflessness, the quality of our relationships and our willingness to connect with others in a useful way.
This fits in rather well with the idea of building resilience in our children as Chelsea outlines. What do you think?