By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
I believe that one of the most important things a parent can do for their child is to help them build their resilience. As people, our lives can be challenging and difficult at times and I think that resiliency is the key factor in improving our ability to deal with whatever life might throw our way. As I have suggested in previous blog posts (like last week’s, which is a prequel to this post and can be found here), many of our current society beliefs and norms actually relate to reduced resiliency for all of us. This includes our focus on happiness above all else, the dramatic impact of the mass media in our lives, our general disconnect from each other, and the anxiety created through news coverage of negative event after negative event.
At times when any of us sit back and reflect on our culture, it might seem like there is a dreary future and I definitely relate to that feeling. However, I also see so much positive change and growth in the people I work with and in our culture as a whole. The mindfulness movement, focus on personal growth, and increased acceptance of each other as people lead me to feel more optimistic and hopeful about our ability to change direction and head down emotionally healthier paths.
As many of you know from reading my blogs or knowing me personally, I strongly believe in the influence of language in shaping the way we see the world and ourselves. As such, for this blog, I will focus on specific ways to talk with your child to increase resilience.
The cornerstone in using language to build resilience is to first approach situations with empathy and caring and validate your child’s feelings. Then assist the child/teen in finding a solution to the situation if there is one. If there is not, it can be a great example of a time to change the way we think about the situation to feel or cope better. Another key part in using language to build resilience is through the interpersonal connection of being in the situation together, you want to let the child know that they are not alone and that you can help by providing support or ideas.
Some examples of phrases that promote resiliency are the following:
The key things to try and avoid are doing things that exacerbate your child/teen’s fears or negative reaction to a situation. These are reactions like the following:
All or Nothing Patterns:
These are just some ideas of ways to use language to help your child build their ability to cope with difficult life events and have healthier emotional regulation skills. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child, teen psychotherapist, adult or marriage and family counseling San in Diego.
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