People used to say things to Bode like, “It’s so easy for you to make friends!”
But when he went away to college, he felt shy and insecure. Inside, he felt like he was struggling to find a social group. He thought that maybe he was a fraud—that he didn’t really have this great friend-making attribute that everyone had assigned to him.
When you tell your children that they are something—whether that is a positive or negative thing—you risk simultaneously and inadvertently telling them that they cannot be something else.
This comes at a risk. A child who is told that she is smart will freak out a little bit (or a lot) on the inside when she cannot tackle a problem or when she makes an error.
I hope no one finds out my secret, she will think, and it will shut down the lines of communication. After all, no one wants to be found out as an imposter.
It’s hard, if not impossible, to resist the urge to label a...
One Resilience-Based Parenting question that comes up a lot is: What should parents do about social media?
It seems like kids change their behavior when they get on social media. They get snarky. They get aggressive. They use language they wouldn't necessarily otherwise use.
So parents are left with just taking it away. They don't know what else to do.
But when we just punish our kids, they resist. And what we want for them, ultimately, is to be able to use social media responsibly, in a way that serves them.
How often do kids have to listen to listen to their parents, teachers, coaches, babysitters ... and no one ever asks their opinions?
How often do kids get dismissed because we don’t think they have enough life experience to add anything meaningful to the conversation?
But, kids have something to say, and if we don’t ask their opinions, they won’t feel seen, and they won’t feel validated by their parents. Beyond that, they won’t have the experience necessary to think through their opinions and refine them.
When adults do not ask children for their opinions, children grow into adults who feel unsure of themselves. They second guess themselves. They don’t know what to think or how to make their voices heard.
Asking kids to share their opinions is such an easy thing to do, and it helps children not only build their self-esteem, but it also lets them practice having conversations and thinking through their positions...
As early as preschool, people start asking children what they want to be when they grow up. And while there is certainly nothing wrong (and a lot right) with encouraging children to think about their futures and consider careers that might interest them, this question fails to convey several important things.
First, the question is asking about what career your child wants to have, but a job is only part of the story.
A better question might be—"Who do you want to be when you grow up?"—because it evokes thought about the myriad of components that factor into who we are as humans.
"Who do you want to be?" prompts thought about not just career, but also family, values, hobbies, lifestyle, and legacy. It starts a conversation about how your kids want to show up in the world, how they want to be perceived by others, and how they will try to balance all of the things that will matter to them.
The second and most important thing the question fails to convey is the process of...
You can’t do it all. You can’t home cook every meal, attend every sporting event, work a full-time job, read to your kids every night, teach them great manners, introduce them to next year’s vocab words, take them to museums, memorize facts about Greek mythology, and tell great stories.
Our friend and the president of the Santa Monica PONY Baseball league, Marc Shrake, has this to say of coaching: “Most of the kids know what to do; they just need to be taught how to figure out for themselves how to do it.”
In other words, the wisdom exists inside of them. They just need to be taught how to find it.
He goes on to say that kids don’t need to be told every single time what to do when they swing and miss. Intellectually, they know what they are supposed to do.
“Most of the time, they need to be told to relax, take a deep breath, wait, trust their hands.”
The goal of coaching, he says, is that the kids learn to coach themselves. Instead of looking to the coach for step-by-step instructions, they look inward at what they already know.
This is also the goal of teaching resilience. The goal is that over time, your kids can figure out for themselves how to tap into their Inner Wisdom. The goal is that they figure out for themselves...
No well-adjusted parents enjoy seeing their children sad, in pain, or fearful.
When your children are experiencing negative emotions, do your best to remain calm. Do your best to receive those emotions and communicate that they are acceptable. Demand of yourself that you step back and allow your children to work through these emotions.
You can and should help them process their pain through conversation, of course, but do not rush to sweep their icky feelings away.
When you rush to do anything—everything!—to make your children feel better …
When you panic and, through language and tone, express that you are also flooded with pain …
When you step in and save the day …
… think about what you inadvertently communicate …
You communicate that pain is an unacceptable condition. You model the frantic need to make pain go away at all costs. You model the behavior of reaching for anything to make negative feelings dissipate.
Do you revisit conflict when tempers have cooled?
When your child has a giant emotional meltdown, do you breathe a sigh of relief after it passes and go about your business?
Don’t prod a sleeping bear, right?
The truth is, the gold is in the second half. When you and your child revisit a conflict with clear heads, you can find solutions. This is where growth happens. It is where you and your child can begin to appreciate each other’s perspectives, and it is where you can find solutions absent of the flood of emotions that were clouding your thoughts in round one.