7 year old Yomi pushed aside his homework after one failed attempt as he gazed at the neighbors children playing outside, he simply believed that he couldn’t do it. His teacher had taught them the steps, but he found it a herculean task to perform. After all, he didn’t like numeracy. As soon as his mum spotted that he was leaving his numeracy home work for football, she immediately asked Yomi’s older sibling to fix the home work.
Many children can be found in this same situation likewise many parents. They have this ” I can’t” mindset. Oh! its too tough, somebody help me! They complain the workload in school is enormous and their parents are quick to change schools. Such children who are easily provided a way of escape in the face of seemingly difficult tasks as a numeracy homework grow up to believe that life is a bed of roses . They also give up easily and will not complete projects in the face of obstacles. They may grow up believing that their parents have it all planned out for them. They become dependent on others and lack the ability to initiate projects or handle responsibility especially under pressure. They may also be convenient to stay in their “comfort zone”, never venturing out to take risks.
Resilience can be defined as an individual’s ability to cope and bounce back in the face of stress and adversity. Grit, a word associated with resilience can be regarded as the ability to persevere when achieving long term goals. Resilience determines a lot of things in life, school success, college success, and general success in life. According to Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., a psychologist who has researched on character skills that may be responsible for success, she discovered that grit matters more to a child’s ability to reach full potential than intelligence, skill, or even grades.
Children, as they grow to become adults may face financial hardships, sudden changes, loss of loved ones, hectic schedules, pressures at work, relationship difficulties, and so many other circumstances that may stand in the way of their success or happiness. If they haven’t developed resilience, these circumstances may overwhelm them and they could be at risk of developing psychological disorders as depression.
While some people are of the opinion that resilient is innate, research has shown that this “trait” can be taught
So just how are we supposed to build grit or resilience in a child? Parents, may ask.
Here are a few keys of building this life quality:
- Help your child see failure as an opportunity to learn.
- Encourage them to always try again
- Teach them problem solving skills e.g. STOP, THINK and ACT can be used in the face of challenges.
- Avoid criticism or harsh judgment
- Rewards in form of praise, Hi-5’s can be given positive behaviors are observed, when goals are achieved regardless of the obstacles.
- Avoid focusing on failure or negative behavior
- Celebrate your children’s strength and cultivate their weaknesses
- Build a close, loving and positive atmosphere in your home
- Don’t accommodate every need. This gives them a chance to develop problem solving skills
- Model Resilience
With these 10 keys used consistently, your child will be well able to face the hiccups that life brings.