Resilience. This is the second post in our series marking Anti-Bullying Week 2017.
Resilience is an essential life skill. Children have seldom been more protected from the evils of disease, exploitation and poverty but each new era brings fresh challenges. Today’s children are swamped with stress. From the school curriculum, which is increasingly challenging, to the need to navigate safely the ever-developing digital landscape, children have much to cope with.
Children learn very quickly that the world is full of difficult people. You know the kind I mean – the child who pinches them every day at nursery, the boy who decides they’re not allowed to join in and play football, the girl who calls them names. As parents, we cannot protect our children from these incidents and nor should we. If your child is never exposed to germs, they miss the chance to build immunity and are left vulnerable. In the same way, if they are never exposed to ‘difficult people’, they will never build resilience.
Strong self esteem is the foundation of resilience. You can’t bounce back if your ego is so fragile that even a pin prick will deflate you for hours. Don’t miss an opportunity to offer your child specific praise (but offer constructive criticism where it will benefit them).
Games are a great way to build resilience in your child. It’s very simple: don’t let them win every time. Games like Snakes & Ladders and Ludo are games of chance and not skill, so there is no reason to let your child win each time. Sports are fantastically resilience-building: all the most successful sports persons are no stranger to the disappointment of losing. Let your child get used to losing from time to time and you will have a child who understands that losing and being disappointed is just part of the game – and part of life.
Nobody likes to see their child unhappy. But whilst it’s not a cause for celebration, the day your child comes home and tells you someone was mean to them should be welcomed as an opportunity to help them build resilience. So whilst it’s not exactly a cause for celebration, the day your child comes home and tells you someone was mean to them should be welcomed because it marks an opportunity to help your child build resilience.
Brooks Gibbs is a youth worker and bullying expert. Watch the video below to see how he calmly and easily disarms a verbal bully.
It’s not easy to see your child deal with nasty behaviour but every knock and bump on life’s highway should serve to build resilience.
Find out more about Anti-Bullying Week 2017 here on our blog.