Sponsored by Timberline Knolls
By Reena B. Patel
As you know, this pandemic has not only impacted the well-being of adults, but has impacted the imaginal wellness of children. It’s difficult to bounce back from the ups and downs of the unknown of this pandemic for us grown ups but many children are understandably feeling anxious and hopeless and have a hard time managing or understanding those emotions.
As a parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst, please review my tips to teach children how to develop skills of resiliency below:
- Resiliency will really help children cope and adhere to the challenges they are face.
- Resilient children are more likely to take healthy risks because they don’t fear falling short of expectations. For example, taking a risk and cold calling a virtual volunteer opportunity. These children are also curious, brave, and trusting of their instincts. Therefore, will respond better to new ways of learning. This includes remote learning and unexpressed changes. Children who are resilient can push themselves to step outside of their comfort zones. This helps them reach for their long-term goals and it helps them solve problems independently.
Expressing emotions and having an outlet to do so.
- As parents, what is the first thing we do when our child cries? We say “don’t cry”. Children need to have an outlet to express their feelings.
- Younger children need to be able to identify what those feelings are. Of course, you do not want your child to have inappropriate responses to situations, but allow for them to have a safe space to let their feelings out.
- As parents remember to lean in and validate and empathize.
- Maybe your child wants to step away and be by themselves or squeeze a pillow. As long as they have an outlet that is there for them, we are supporting their needs. As parents,
- We will often feel every bump, bruise, fall or fail. It can be heartbreaking when they struggle or miss out on something they want.
The importance of consistency
As parents, we need to be consistent across the board. If we say we are going to allow for something contingent upon completion of a task, we need to follow through. So many times, we tell our children 5 minutes and I will be right there to play with you and the 5 minutes becomes 30 min to an hour.
- Don’t over stretch your personal expectations of your child. Understand where they are at and be realistic when it comes to academic, emotional and self-help growth.
- When the goals are attainable, your child will more likely comply because of the success of the outcomes. Remember to build feelings of competence and a sense of mastery
Allow for mistakes
- In fact, the child you call a “perfectionist” is one who research shows will grow up anxious.
- Fear of failure children tend to be highly anxious children. .
- This causes risk avoidance. Embracing mistakes (your own included) helps promote a growth mindset and gives kids the message that mistakes help them learn.
- When children watch you tackle a mistake and get up and try again, this shows your child how to problem solve.
Learning to problem solve
- By modeling how you handle downfalls and work through dilemmas allows your child to know mistakes are ok and see how you build up to the poutine you want.
- We all need help sometimes, and it’s important for kids to know they have help.
- Brainstorm possible solutions with your child.
- Encourage your child to come up with a list of ideas and weigh the pros and cons of each one.
Coping with stress and worries
- If I could give anything to a child, it would be coping skills.
- Life is and will be full of downs. We have to be realistic and teach our children that there are ways to cope with stressful situations. Resilience helps kids navigate these stressful situations.
- A child who is resilient has the confidence to confront their worries.
- As parents we need to show them ways they can cope.
- Even as young as 3, children should begin to learn techniques to navigate through everyday stressors.
- For example, in my book ‘Winnie & Her Worries,’ I show how a Worry Box can help or the use of positive affirmations.
Don’t jump in a try and rescue
- It’s natural for parents to rush to the rescue and give an answer or problem to solve a challenge.
- However, when will our children learn to navigate real life challenges if we are always there to fix their problems? A
- better strategy is to actively listen and ask questions. Help your child think through the issue and come up with solutions to try.
Timberline Knolls – “We Treat the Person, Not the Symptom”
Timberline Knolls is a leading residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls, ages 12 and older, struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located just outside of Chicago in Lemont, Ill., residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly-trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre, non-institutional, wooded campus. An adult partial hospitalization program (PHP), with supportive housing, is also available in nearby Orland Park, Ill., for women to step down or directly admit. For residents seeking faith-based Christian treatment, we offer the Grace Program.
Our treatment approach includes: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Spirituality, Family Systems, Expressive Therapies, and Recovery Principles in a trauma-informed environment. Our school, the TK Academy, is located on our campus offering residents the opportunity to continue their education. In addition, our Alumnae Program allows us to remain in touch with our residents to continue to support them in their unique recovery journey.
By serving with uncompromising care, relentless compassion, and an unconditional joyful spirit, we help our residents and clients help themselves in their recovery. For more information on Timberline Knolls, call 877.257.9611 or visit www.timberlineknolls.com. We are located at 40 Timberline Dr., in Lemont, Ill.