Give Your Child The Gift Of Resilience

Helping your child to build resilience helps their character, their success at school, helps them to want to take on new challenges, and encourages them to have a more positive approach to life in general. Resilience, in learning, helps children to persevere through difficult tasks and also allows them to take the risk of making a mistake, which in turn will help them achieve their goals.

So why don’t children these days have a lot of resilience? Well, there are different theories on this, but I would think it’s because with the pace of life and both mum’s and dad’s out working – the child is not “taught” HOW to be resilient. He hasn’t been shown how he can develop a growth mindset.

You see, when a child has a set – back – for example he realises he can’t do a certain task or a school project, many parents simply just do it for him, instead of encouraging him to go back and take it step by step until they get it right.

Competence and Resilience

If a child doesn’t feel competent about something, he will resist doing it, and he will develop low expectations for getting things right! So, we have to make sure he DOES feel competent. One of the ways in which we can do that is to give him or her some little challenges.

Experimental Task to help your Child

  • Buy an old watch/ clock/mechanical toy or similar that works but you don’t mind if it gets broken!
  • Ask your child how he thinks it works
  • Have a chat with him about it and then ask him if he would like to take it apart step by step, to see how it actually works.
  • Tell him it doesn’t matter if he can’t get it back together again – it’s just an experiment!
  • The object of this exercise is to allow the child to build his own resilience, by learning how to break things down into bite size tasks, and when he gets there, and is able to do it, he will feel so proud of himself.
  • When he finishes – congratulate him on being persistent and breaking things down into doable “chunks”.
  • Tell him the next time he has a task to do – he must remember how he tackled this one.
  • This will build his competence and stop him feeling overwhelmed

Mistakes Mean that at Least You are trying!

It’s important for parents to share their failures and mistakes with their children because if they don’t, the child will simply never learn that to be successful in life you have to make mistakes and you DO have to fail sometimes. It’s all part of our learning process. Let them look up information on Thomas Edison and the lightbulb, and the man who invented Kentucky Fried Chicken!

When your child makes a mistake, explain to him or her that they HAVE NOT FAILED and that the mistake is all about them learning so that next time they get it absolutely SPOT ON!

You can also explain to your child that when he makes a mistake his brain is geared up to make new connections so that the next time he does that task he will know what to do and will correct the faulty information. Also, if he HAS made a mistake and then gets it right, he’s more likely to remember it for next time! And remember – “someone who has never made a mistake – has probably never tried anything new!”

A mum recently asked me to help her child with on – line sessions for Resilience and confidence. Little Emily, (8) was really struggling with what seemed like “everything”! She was anxious, she would never put her hand up in class to answer a question in case she got it wrong. She kept saying “I can’t do it” without ever really trying. Mum was at her wits end and was convinced there was something very wrong with her. She said:

Emily was getting worse, she was constantly telling me she couldn’t do things, and I realised it was because she was always scared of not doing something right. She constantly thought the children at school didn’t like her and that the teacher thought she was stupid, which wasn’t the case at all. If a child wouldn’t play with her at playtime – she would be convinced the whole school hated her. At first I thought she had some real severe psychological problems but when I took her to see Elaine, she explained that children of this age often go through this and it’s when the child is not resilient and always fears that she is getting things wrong that they become almost paranoid. Elaine did one session solely with myself and my husband to give us some “tools” to help Emily. These were brilliant and with just one very simple technique that she taught us – we saw Emily change before our very eyes! She did a few more sessions with Emily and to be honest neither my husband or myself could believe how much she had grown in resilience and self- confidence. I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t found Elaine. She is a great therapist and has so much experience with children’s problems.”

Julie Donohue, Lower Earley.

Sometimes there is a reason for children to be anxious, and its quite often because something is worrying them, and if that worry is affecting so many aspects of their little lives ( school, home, friendships etc) its going to have a big affect on their learning and their future.

If you are worried that your child is not resilient or displays signs of lack of confidence or low self – esteem, do contact me at

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