WHAT IS RESILIENCE?
A resilient person bounces back from obstacles and disappointments. This skill is acquired through experience. Just as a child cannot learn how to walk without an occasional fall, he cannot learn how to succeed in life without experiencing occasional setbacks.
WHY IS RESILIENCE IMPORTANT?
Some children get discouraged when they meet with failure, adversity, or criticism. Others give up entirely. However, they need to understand the following facts:
Failure is inevitable in some endeavors.—James 3:2.
Adversity affects everyone at some point.—Ecclesiastes 9:11.
Correction is vital for learning.—Proverbs 9:9.
Resilience will help your child face life’s challenges with confidence.
HOW TO TEACH RESILIENCE
When your child fails.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “The righteous one may fall seven times, and he will get up again.”—Proverbs 24:16.
Help your child put things in perspective. For example, what would he do if he failed a test at school? He might give up, saying, “I can’t do anything right!”
To teach resilience, help your child work out a strategy that will help him to improve. In this way, he will take charge of the problem rather than become a victim of it.
At the same time, avoid fixing the problem for your child. Instead, help him create his own plan. You might ask him, “What can you do to improve your understanding of the subject that is being taught?”
When adversity strikes.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.”—James 4:14.
Life is unpredictable. A person who is rich today might be poor tomorrow; a person who is healthy today might be sick tomorrow. “The swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle,” says the Bible, “because time and unexpected events overtake them all.”—Ecclesiastes 9:11.
As a parent, you rightly take reasonable steps to protect your child from danger. Realistically, though, it is not possible to shield your child from all of life’s adversities.
Of course, your child may not be old enough to experience the loss of a job or a financial reversal. Still, you can help him cope with other adversities—for example, the loss of a friendship or the death of a family member.*
When your child receives constructive criticism.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Listen to counsel . . . in order to become wise in your future.”—Proverbs 19:20.
Constructive criticism is not bullying; it is guidance that addresses an action or an attitude that needs to change.
When you teach your child to accept correction, both of you are spared much grief. “If children are always rescued from their errors,” says a father named John, “they will never learn. They will jump from one problem to the next, and you will spend your life following them, stomping out the fires that they cause. That makes life miserable for the parents and the child.”
How can you help your child benefit from constructive criticism? When your child receives it—whether at school or anywhere else—resist the urge to say that the correction is unfair. Instead, you could ask:
“Why do you think the correction was given?”
“How can you improve?”
“What will you do the next time you are in this situation?”
Remember, constructive criticism will serve your child well, not only now but also in adulthood.
See the article “Help Your Child Cope With Grief,” in the July 1, 2008, issue of The Watchtower.