Thursday, 11 July 2013

Raising Resilient Children

Recently I came across stories of two children-one from North and other from South India. In the South, the only son of a doctors' family was expected to be a doctor. When his class 12th result was published, he called his mother to let her know that he has failed for one of the subjects. In the North, the scientist father expected his son to be a scientist. The son heard a lot of discouraging words from his father because he got only 83% in Class 12. Both sons chose suicide as their solution.
My Child, You're Safe Here

I have heard stories about parents who avoid talking to their children when they get less than 90% marks. What has gone wrong with such parents? Has our education helped us to really understand our children's talents, gifts, and hopes? Or have we become more ambitious after all? Do we really know what causes pain, grief, shame, or discouragement in children? Or are we busy making them to fit into our unfulfilled dream or to make them like our heroine or hero?

Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Resilience develops when children perceive success and failure as part of life. Ups and downs have been part of life ever since life began. Even though this also has been repeatedly our story, we, parent,s tend to expect only success for our children. Rather we are to create a space in our homes where they can share their fears and hopes, success, and failures without a thought of rejection. Only then they will trust us with their feelings. The first step towards this is to be transparent and share our sorrows and happiness according to the maturity of children.

Parents think over-protection is the way to develop resilient children. We tend to protect our young ones so much so that there are no possibilities for them to fail. Later, during teenage years when their independence blooms they tend to move away from overprotecting parents. Then when disappointments meet them they may not find those around them good enough to get them out of the pit of sorrow. This is because they won't see such parents as someone in whom they can confide in their feelings. It does not mean that parents should not be involved in their kids' lives. Yet, we can enable them to solve their problems and to make decisions according to their age. This indeed build confidence in their ability to handle life issues.

Besides, when we, parents only glorify success, it communicates to children that they are valuable as long as they earn awards and trophies. This conveys conditional love which in turn creates fear of losing their relationships. This is not to say that they are not expected to excel in their talents. But as we encourage them to excel, let them also know and feel that they are valued just because they are our children. Let them see that home is always a safe place for losers and winners alike. Last but not the least, help them to taste and know that their almighty God will never leave them nor forsake them.

photo credit