Poll any mom and ask them about what they hope for their children. Many say they want them to be happy and healthy, have lives that are meaningful. All fantastic goals and wishes for their little ones. But there's been a lot of chitchat out there about how kids become happy, how they learn to find meaning in their lives, to approach each day with that skip in their step. A big thing all of the studies have shown? The key to being happy adults, to having a "successful" life? Resilience and grit.
I know, how exactly do we teach resilience and grit? I wasn't sure either so went in search of some tips. Here's what I found:
-- Share stories of grit. From super athletes who overcame obstacles to your own personal anecdotes of failing and then getting back up to try again (and perhaps again), talking about how trying hard at something and the approach one takes when something doesn't come very easy is ohso important.
-- Focus on the basics. Sure, we want them to become doctors who cure cancer, but pushing them to focus on that doesn't help them be functional humans. Being resourceful and aware of others, and mastering basic day-to-day tasks like cleaning up, fixing a sandwich, whatever it may be is vital to having a positive outlook.
-- Teach them "authentic success." This means highlighting the process of learning and living. As results from a test come back, sure, look at the grade, but also ask them to talk about what they learned from studying for that test. When there was a soccer game or dance practice, don't ask them if they scored, but about how the flow of the game went, how they felt during it, the highs and the lows. By talking about the process of an experience, it lets them discover and learn to hone their own inner evaluation of what success is.
-- Let them fail. If you see your child may not have fully devoted enough time on that book report and probably won't get a good grade, even after talking a few days ago on how long he would need, let it happen. We can't stop bad things or fix every situation for them. How one reacts to failure is a huge part of character, and if your child never encounters it, he will be at a huge disadvantage in life. Obviously, if that situation where he will fail with harm him physically, step in, but on daily moments where he can take control and affect what is happening, have him learn how to handle and move on (and fix) mistakes and missteps. It will benefit him for his whole life.
How do you teach your child resilience and grit? Have you talked about what "success" means with your child? What kind of successful life do you want for your child?