My son and the journey to building resilience
Mr. G is the coach and so I usually sit on the sideline admiring how well my husband handles a group of 15 screaming, energy filled three, four and five-year-olds who simply want to run around and kick the ball, not sit and listen to instructions from the coach.
Being able to sit and watch has really put some realities in check for me though, one being that Elliott is definitely going to live and breathe soccer as he grows up, The second reality, that Elliott is at the age where other kids, particularly slightly older ones, are starting to give him a bit of a tough time.
It breaks my heart to hear about it or see it happen because Elliott is one of those kids that just wants to play with anyone, he’s always smiling and happy and he just wants to be anyone’s friend really. The problem is, it’s sometimes not reciprocated and the other child will try to run away, will show some aggression towards him or in some cases, get a bit pushy.
As a parent this is hard to watch or hear about, my mummy radar kicks into action and I immediately want to intervene, but, I tell myself that I can’t, that I have to let Elliott sort it out himself.
To be honest, I’m at the stage where I find it hard to understand why some children can be so horrible, nasty and mean, simply because Elliott is just not like that. I think this is one of the reasons why I feel I have to tread very lightly in how I deal with it. Elliott needs to build resilience, particularly because he’s off to prep next year and I’m sure that as he gets older, this will be a regular occurrence that he has to sort out himself.
It’s definitely a new learning experience for me, this building of resilience.
When Elliott was two I wrote this post about being a ‘bubble wrap parent’ and why I was one. I still stick with the opinions I share in that post of our changing society and how different it is to when I grew up. I know for sure I wouldn’t let my kids walk the distance I did to primary school, perhaps unless they had a GPS tracker for kids!
This talk about protecting our kids often gets me thinking though. Where do we draw the line when it comes to protecting our kids yet still building resilience?
I took a look at Michael Grose’s Parenting Ideas website on ways to build resilience just to make sure we were on the right track. I’m glad to say that we’ve already been unknowingly doing these things to help with resilience building:
- Have a positive attitude. A parent’s attitude determines a child’s ability to bounce back when they face challenges.
- If your child faces a challenge, use this as a teachable moment to help them grow and learn from it.
- Make your kids actively participate in family life to develop self-help, problem-solving and independence skills.
- Build coping skills through acceptance, getting away for a while and normalisation.
But, there was one thing really jumped out at me regarding promoting resilience:
“Promoting resilience requires you as a parent to have an understanding of resilience, so you have faith in yourself, and your child’s ability to cope.”
‘Having faith in myself and my child’s ability to cope,’ that’s the BINGO statement right there, the one that has boosted my confidence in this fairly new stage of my parenting journey.
I love this statement so much. I just need to have a little faith and not doubt my parenting or Elliott’s ability to face the challenges. In addition to buiding resilience in children, this statement is absolute gold for parenting in general.
Isn’t it funny how such small things can make such a huge difference to our perspectives?