Do your children have a McChildhood? Do they experience the type of childhood that may satisfy them in the short-term as their immediate needs are met, but in the long-term, leaves them ill-equipped to deal with some of the curve balls that are thrown their way?
The emergence of indoor playgrounds is an example of the lengths we go to not only provide a sanitised life for kids but to ensure that they never get bored (or even get wet and cold when they play)!
It helps sometimes to stand back and take stock of the type of childhood that we provide for our kids.
Here are 10 elements of a childhood that promotes resilience in children and young people.
A resiliency-promoting childhood has the following features:
1. Kids don't always get what they want. The Rolling Stones were right when they sang, "You can't always get what you want, but you can try" all those years ago.
2. They have plenty of opportunities to solve their own problems without adults trying to fix everything for them. Children will only develop their inner resources when given the opportunity to develop their resourcefulness.
3. Children are expected to help at home from a young age without being paid. That is how they learn to be useful.
4. Parental expectations for success are positive, realistic and based on child's interests and aptitudes rather than on adult wishes.
5. Children receive liberal amounts of encouragement but moderate amounts of praise. Praise is like French fries ? kids want them but they don't need them. They need something a little more substantial than quick fix, feel-good praise. They need something substantial like encouragement to help them grow and develop.
6. Children have plenty of free time to do three essential things ? play outside, have fun and to daydream. But they need to have the opportunity to initiate all three, rather than have them initiated by someone. These three essentials help insulate human beings when life gets out of control.
7. Children are involved in family decision-making so that they learn to impact positively on their environment.
8. Children have the opportunity to identify their strengths and then build on these to develop their unique identities through adolescence.
9. Children grow up in families that have their own rituals, rights of passage and celebrations. These rituals provide important anchors to children as they develop and grow away.
10. Resilient children need to be surrounded by resilient adults rather than adults who are continually stressed and have no real life outside from children and work. Begin a hobby is a good place to start if you feel that life is all work (and kids) and no fun.
Michael Grose is The Parent Coach. For seventeen years he has been helping parents deal with the rigours of raising kids and survive!! For information about Michael's Parent Coaching programs or just some fine advice and ideas to help you raise confident kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au
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