by Irene Lei July 31, 2023

Resilience isn’t a birthright, it’s a skill that can be learnt and practiced with your help.

In today's complex society, the American Psychological Association (APA) has underscored a crucial aspect for our children's well-being - building resilience. Developing resilience in children is more than just throwing them into the deep end of a pool to see whether they can swim; it is about the consistent support you provide them daily. In this blog article, we delve into how you can empower your child to thrive in the face of adversity.

1. Create a safe foundation.

Strong relationships are the foundation of children’s resilience. Your child’s most important relationships are with you and their other main carers, like helpers. Strong relationships with you and their carers help your child feel loved and safe. This sense of security gives your child the confidence to discover their world and to bounce back from setbacks.

“Having a relationship with a caring parent is far and away the most powerful protective factor for children,” said Ann Masten, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota and a pioneer in the study of children resiliency. Thus, if a youngster skins her elbow while falling off a bike, the best method to assist her get back on is to tell her that she is loved regardless of what happens.

What’s more, pay attention to your level of anxiousness, and try to be at ease with witnessing your child experience sadness and frustration.

2. Quality time over quantity.

I'll never forget what my 5-year-old daughter said to me. We were doing a puzzle, but I kept going to the bedroom to check my phone. "Mommy, you're not really here, are you?" she correctly remarked after I rejoined her for the fourth time.

So quality is more important than quantity. 10 minutes of fully concentrated concentration is preferable than an hour of multitasking. You can also use phrases like "tell me how you thought of that" to have more meaningful conversations and discover more about your child's cognitive process and creativity.

3. Give proper praise that encourages a growth mindset.

Growth mindset: It is a belief that intelligence and abilities can be enhanced through hard work and practice. Children with growth mindset believe that they can learn and improve despite their inborn talent, which encourages perseverance.

Fixed mindset: Contrarily, it is a belief that abilities are fixed. Children with fixed mindset believes that they are either smart or not smart, with not much room of improvement.

Proper praise is important in helping children develop a growth mindset with self-belief. When you praise your child:

✘ “You’re so smart.” – this focus on the child’s inborn talent. They develop a fixed mindset and attribute their success to natural talent. They may then assume that any mistake reflects their innate limitations.

✔ “I see you worked so hard on this.” / “How did you learn how to do that?!” – this process praise emphasizes the child’s work and actions. They develop a growth attitude that success is due to their effort and strategy, thus more likely to enjoy challenges.

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4. Ask ‘how’ to promote problem-solving skills.

Every parent would like to protect their children from hardships in life. Excessive care, however, acts as a barrier, preventing children from learning how to be strong and effectively handle life's problems. In fact, one of the most effective methods for our children to learn is via trial and error. This is unpleasant yet necessary.

✘ "Why?" – avoid “why" questions. “Why" questions don't promote problem-solving. Imagine that if your child left their bike in the rain, and you ask, "Why?" what will they say?

✔ "How?" – asking “how” questions instead, which will lead your child to think about how to tackle a challenge. As they figured out how to solve a problem, they feel more resourceful, competent and powerful. Hence, more likely to believe in themselves, to enjoy difficult challenges, and to display resilience when faced with setbacks.


5. Be a positive, resilient role model.

Your child will learn and mimic anything you do, part of educating your child to be robust is modeling resilience for them.

You cannot demand a child to manage their emotions when they are acting out. Instead, demonstrate consistent resilient habits. Stamford American School Hong Kong suggested that being honest in accepting your faults, expressing disappointment, then moving that past disappointment will assist your children to be more resilient.

Why not discuss with your child what you learned or how you can do better next time? You might also talk about how renowned people built their way to success by making errors and failing!

Thanks for reading! Read our blog (or join our WhatsApp group) for more parenting tips and STEM / STEAM resources.

[6] Seligman, M. (2018). The optimistic child: A revolutionary approach to raising resilient children. Hachette UK

Irene Lei
Irene Lei


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