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How to Help Your Child Take Risks & Build Resilience
What is Risk?
The possibility that something bad or unpleasant might happen. The possibility that something will not work out quite the way we expect or want it to.
How do we increase our capacity for risk?
“Exploring the Unknown”: Turning toward what you don’t know rather than sticking with what you do know.
“Trusting Vulnerability”: Being ok with not knowing, with uncertainty, with self doubt and trusting that there is strength in vulnerability.
“Welcoming Failure”: Failure is an opportunity to discover—something about yourself, about the situation, and about what you are learning.
What is Resilience?
How we understand and respond to challenge or adversity. How we “bounce back” and grow when things have not worked out or are difficult for us to handle.
How do we increase our capacity for resilience?
“Discovering Courage”: Finding the courage within ourselves to deal with challenge and stress; the courage to face failures and setbacks so that we are able to learn from them and see our strength within those moments of vulnerability and uncertainty.
“Developing Grit and Determination”: Resilience gives us the capacity to hang in there when we are faced with a challenge, to continue to look for solutions, to develop a sense of optimism that a pathway through the challenge can and will be found.
“Finding Possibility”: When we look with courage, grit and determination toward a problem or a challenge, we find all new possibilities. Negative thinking narrows our point of view and the options we see, but resilient thinking opens a world of possibility to us.
So how do we teach our children this?
The foundation for everything, all relationships but particularly the parent-child relationship. We—parents—are the most important relationship our children have and we have the most influence over how our children learn.
“Loving, Emotional Connection”: Build feelings of trust, provide a “safe haven” (sanctuary, place of shelter and restoration) as well as a “secure base” (foundation that fosters the resilience to go out there into the world and try, take risks , explore).
“Building Motivation”: Warm, loving connections are the source of our motivation to try new things, to learn, to engage in the world in meaningful ways. Positive and loving relationships create positive motivation: for change, for growth, for discovery.
“Creating Openness”: It is our relationships that help our children become open to new learning, open to taking risk, and open to trying again…and we do this by being open to them—to what they are experiencing, thinking, feeling and wondering about, as they are learning.
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