The Key To Raising Resilient Children – StrapsAway™

The Key To Raising Resilient Children

A few months ago I was on a trail in the middle of an Alberta forest, with my kids refusing to take another step. One sat on the side of the trail, miserable. Another was flat on his back, crying. And the third was lying spread eagle, face down, acting like he'd passed out. 

I didn't mind one bit. It actually made me happy. 

There's something special about seeing your kids reach what they think is their limit, declare that they can't do it, then pick themselves up and do the very thing they'd just claimed would kill them. Because, when you're out in the middle of the forest, there's no choice but to keep going. 

Overall, I know that my kids have it easy. When they start complaining bitterly about taking a shower, I worry that they have it too easy. They ride around the city in a van with heated leather seats and the ability to watch movies for goodness sake! It terrifies me. 

It's very different from how I was raised. There was one time my dad locked the keys in the van, so he crawled under it and reached his arm through the hole in the rusted out floor to grab his keys. When it rained, the seals leaked so I would have to carefully position how I sat to stay dry. I have wonderful parents who provided for us and gave us amazing opportunities, but life wasn't always cushy.

Resilience is one of the key components to happiness and strong mental health. But it's not a trait that you are born with. Through experiences, it can be encouraged, learned, and fostered. However, city life for kids doesn't tend to naturally offer those experiences. 

So, how do you foster resilience? You love them fiercely and provide a safe environment. You model a positive outlook, even in hard times. You delay gratification and expect them to work. And you give them hard things to do, that they have to see through to the end.

As it turned out, they loved that hike. Because, after they'd had their protest, around the very next corner was our destination - an awesome Cold War bunker with multiple caves that we got to explore.

Now, when they have to do something hard and they want to give up, I remind them of our many hikes and that's usually all they need to push through.

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