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Helping Your Child Overcome Common Obstacles

Resilient children learn to overcome everyday obstacles by not fearing failure. Mistakes are not something to be afraid of; they only give you a chance to try again. Think of it this way: People need to make mistakes to learn. If mistakes are thought of as learning tools, and not something to be ashamed of, there is no reason to fear them.


Remember to use your parenting tools: discipline, communication, modeling, family traditions and rituals, and problem-solving. are the backbone of your actions as a parent. Using these with natural parenting skills will help your child learn to be resilient.

You can help your child not become afraid of making mistakes by using your communication tools. First and foremost, your parenting tone needs to remain even and calm when your child makes a mistake. This is easier said than done when your four-year-old spills milk down the inside of your refrigerator and you're wondering why she was in there in the first place. Or your nine-year-old son has taken to riding his bike in the street and has somehow forgotten to look both ways when he crosses an intersection. Deep breaths and count backward from ten… or from one hundred.

Second, use I-messages to help your child label how she is feeling. "I understand that you are frustrated, but you may not jump off of the table." When your child labels her feelings, she can comprehend and control them better. She will be able to delay her impulses long enough to find a solution.

Last, but not least, use your active listening skills. In order for you to offer your child options as solutions, you need to understand the problem she is facing. You need to hear her. She needs your undivided attention. Ask her questions about what you don't understand and listen to her answers. When you feel you understand the problem, then offer solutions.

There are times when you should not help your child with a problem. For instance, if your child simply doesn't want to face the challenge but needs to. In this instance, you need to allow your child to fail. Once he does, do not allow him to blame other people or external circumstances for his failure. Offer him solutions on how he can change the outcome the next time he faces a similar challenge. Support him by saying you know he is capable of succeeding and that you hope the next time he will try harder.

Overcoming Hard-Hitting Obstacles

Unfortunately, there are problems that can happen that no parent wants their child to face. But since you can't always prevent the challenges, you want to be sure your child is able to face the situations with the tools to get through. Resilient children are capable of facing these challenges and still, given time, live life with confidence in their abilities. They are able to bounce back from their trauma and still relate competently to others. They are able to succeed.

Of course, it takes time. Overcoming hard-hitting obstacles isn't like trying to complete a homework assignment. There are normal stages everyone needs to go through when faced with a life-altering trauma or a loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Resilient children are able to go through each of these stages and come out with strength of character and confidence in their abilities.

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From The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Successful Child Copyright © 2004, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

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