Emotional resilience is essential in dealing with our day-to-day lives. It can help us cope with confrontations, making choices, negative situations that are beyond our control and tasks that are boring, difficult or what we consider a waste of time.
As adults we generally face such difficulties with varying levels of resilience. Developing emotional resilience in our children is an important facet of their growth and development.
As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, a negative event doesn’t necessarily cause us to feel down or worried, but rather how we think about the event. Negative habits of mind greatly fuel emotional discomfort. These negative mindsets include self-downing, the need to be perfect, the need for approval, the “I can’t do it or I can’t be bothered” mindset and being intolerant of others. Eliminating these negative mindsets can be challenging. Over the next few weeks I would like to share some strategies from the You Can Do It Program, which may help eliminate or balance these negative mindsets.
To Eliminate ‘Self-Downing’
Explain to children that they have many characteristics – some good and some not so good. Have children come up with five good things about themselves, their skills, talents and personality and five things that could be improved on. You can help children if they get stuck. Then, you should explain that because they possess good qualities, it never makes sense to think “I’m hopeless” or “I’m a loser” when something bad happens. Instead, encourage them to think, “When a bad thing happens, I do not lose my good points. I am still me – capable and likeable”.
Other suggestions for eliminating the tendency of self-downing include:
- Viewing your child in a positive way.
- Showing interest and excitement about non-curricular areas of his/her skills, interests and personal strengths.
- Exposing your child to a variety of extra-curricular activities where they are likely to be successful.
- Keeping a record with your child of all their positive characteristics.
- Acknowledging your child when they handle adverse situations with little or no ‘self-downing’.
- Modeling self-accepting behaviours when something bad happens to you (e.g. “I wasn’t elected to be on the committee. While this is disappointing, I’m still me – a capable and likeable person”).
Being emotionally resilient helps us to ‘tough it out’ and stay on top of situations emotionally, rather than letting them take control of us.
Mr David Druery, Head of Staff and Students P-5