How to help build your children’s resilience

Why is it important to build our child’s confidence and resilience? In the second part of this three-day series, Parent coach and teenage mentor EILEEN KEAN HALY, who is also the author of The Parent, shares some of her advice
How to help build your children’s resilience

Don’t try to iron out your children's problems for them - instead help them to solve them for themselves.

WITH the summer holidays underway, why not use this time to build your child’s confidence and resilience?

When working with kids/teens, the majority do need support with confidence and resilience. To be fair, this is part of growing up and life’s experiences often help us to feel more confident but all too often many struggle here.

Social media, peers and family can all have a huge impact on our kids confidence, both negatively and positively. The good part about this is we can always build confidence and strengthen resilience, with a little effort.

What is the link between confidence and resilience?

Have you ever felt really prepared for something, an interview, sports event or an exam, but regardless of all your preparation and effort, things did not go well for you. This can really knock your confidence and make you doubt yourself.

Eileen Keane Haly
Eileen Keane Haly

From a very young age we are all told to ‘be confident ’, ‘believe in yourself’ and you will be fine as if this is the magic answer to success and happiness in life. But without resilience we will always struggle.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from the setbacks in life. It’s not about being happy all the time, it is believing that even if things do not go your way, you will get through it, you can bounce back.

Having resilience will enable you to keep trying, not to give up when things do not go your way. This is a huge strength to teach our kids, it is actually vital.

Is resilience linked to confidence?

When you build strong self-belief and confidence, you start defining your values and beliefs and living your life by these values and beliefs. That strong self-belief becomes resilience.

Resilience will not and can not stop the emotions of fear, disappointment or hurt when things do not work out but it will give you the strength to overcome these setbacks and try again, move forward, and keep going.

How can you build your child’s confidence and resilience?

Positive Self-Talk - There is nothing more important that the internal chat we have with ourselves, yet we do not talk about this enough. I often say to kids I’m working with, “think of a good friend and keep their name in your head. (example Erin) Now the next time you hear yourself saying something negative to yourself, STOP and ask yourself - ‘would I say this to Erin?’ your answer will always be no. Why? Because you do not want to hurt your friends feelings, make them feel bad about themselves. Why is it ok to do that to yourself? It’s not”.

If you hear your child saying something negative to themselves ask them the question above. It helps them to become more aware of the way they are talking to themselves. It really does help.

Setting achievable goals - if your child struggles with maths, wants to get better at piano, art, a sport, needs to work on reading ability, relationship with grandparents etc, the summer holidays is a great time to work on this. Set a realistic goal for your child daily/weekly, it has to be realistic and achievable.

Yes, they may moan and groan but I guarantee you every time your child sets a goal, puts in the effort and sees the result they will feel more confident and more resilient. What a gift you are giving them just by seeing this through. If you need to use little bribes here, so be it - the important part is setting these goals and seeing them through.

Focus on their strengths - So often we presume our kids will have the strengths we expected them to have; sport, academic, music, art, whatever it was you presumed your kid would be good at, which does not always work out. I work with far too many kids who try to ‘please’ their parents by working really hard at something their parents want them to be good at, even if it is not important to them.

To be honest, I think this is a little sad as too many people end up missing out on really recognising their own individual strengths. All I am saying is try to see what they love to do, what excites them, what they are passionate it about, whether it is sport or space, it is theirs and we need every type of strength out there.

Accepting your kids for who ‘they’ really are is a wonderful thing to be able to do. Unfortunately, far too many struggle with this one. The other side of this is, be careful how you judge your child. Their cousin or a neighbour’s daughter/son may be academic, top sports person etc, try not to compare them, it can really damage their self belief. Everybody has strengths unique to them, everybody has a path, even if that path is nothing like what you expected it to be, try to allow them to follow their own path and not the path you want them to follow. It will be their path to happiness and fulfilment.

Every one of our kids will feel disappointment, regret, loss, sadness, and hurt (no matter how much we try to protect them), but this is part of the magical emotional spectrum of human nature.

The important part is that we teach them that feeling these emotions is ok, talking about these emotions is ok, looking for support is ok - let them know you are open to all of this. Who else can they turn to? Once our kids learn that there is always hope, there are always options, they will succeed in life.

Don’t try to iron out their problems for them, instead help them to solve them for themselves. Build that resilience in your child and watch their confidence soar. You are their number one role model, always.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” - Nelson Mandel

About the author: Eileen Keane Haly, is the Director of and author of The Parent. Eileen is a qualified Parent Coach, Kids Confidence Coach and Teenage Mentor, with a background in child psychology. Instagram- @jumpstartyourconfidencecork Facebook - Jumpstartyourconfidence

TOMORROW: What makes a good parent?

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