Raising Resilient Kids: Strategies to Foster Independence and Problem-Solving Skills

13 March 2023   |   by Julissa DiStefano   
One of the most difficult aspects of being a parent is witnessing your child struggle with anything.

As much as we want to help our children, we must establish a balance between support and overprotection. We must allow our children to struggle and learn in a safe environment. Here are a few strategies to foster independence and problem-solving skills:

Finding the Right Balance

When children struggle with a problem, it forces them to think creatively and allows them to discover solutions. It also fosters creativity and innovation by teaching students how to approach an issue from various perspectives. For example, if your child wants to make new friends, he or she must move outside of their comfort zone and approach a stranger. If your child is shy, this may be daunting, but assisting them in resolving the issue alleviates the worries connected with change.

It is critical not to overprotect your children. Calling another child's mother to arrange a playdate may make things easier for your child, but it may also teach them that they can always count on you to step in and help them whenever they need it. Instead, empower your youngster to deal with challenging situations on his or her own. Let them to try to solve the problem on their own, but be there to offer assistance and guidance as required.

Assisting Children in Recognizing and Responding to Their Feelings

As parents, we should assist our children in recognizing their emotions and developing appropriate responses to them. Every activity is motivated by an emotion, and understanding and processing these emotions helps children acquire abilities to deal with similar situations in the future. An emotions chart is a useful tool for teaching children about various emotions. Help your children to identify how a fictional character is feeling at any particular time, or express your own emotions.

Instead of criticizing your child when they are angry or distressed, assist them in identifying and processing their emotions. Certain emotions are labeled as "bad" and penalized, which tells a child that they are unhealthy and cannot be worked through correctly. Instead, stay with your child during that trying time and identify what you see. Let nonverbal children to point to the emotion with which they are identifying. Continue to be "in the moment" until they are in a stable position to talk.

Motivating Children to Address Their Own Issues

We may encourage our children to solve their challenges by teaching them coping skills. Rather than rescuing them, provide a coping skills package including objects that might assist alleviate intense emotions. Let them 10 minutes to struggle with a problem before partnering with them to examine potential solutions to encourage them to take control.

Because our children learn from our actions and behaviors, we should model the abilities and behaviors that we want them to have. Take advantage of challenging situations to teach children how to deal with strong emotions. Discuss how you are feeling and how you plan to deal with it, and demonstrate children how to sequence emotional regulation steps.

Helping Kids Recognize Their Limits and Set Healthy Boundaries

Finally, assist your children in determining their threshold and establishing their boundaries. Recognize your child's nonverbal clues and provide support and solutions as needed. It is critical to create an environment that encourages healthy struggle so that children feel supported even when they are unable to find a solution on their own.

Encourage Problem-solving

Parents should avoid offering their children with too much certainty and comfort. Instead, they should let their children solve difficulties on their own and gain expertise. For example, parents should avoid overprotecting their children by picking them up from school early or allowing them to sleep in their room.

Parents should help their children learn to solve problems by including them in problem-solving activities. They should also normalize their children's anxiety and assist them in coping with homesickness.

Teaching Concrete Skills

Rather of providing all of the solutions, parents should focus on teaching their children the precise skills they will need to handle different situations on their own. For example, parents should teach their children how to greet others and strike up a discussion.

Accepting Reasonable Risks

To keep their children safe, parents should not eliminate all dangers. Instead, by offering their children age-appropriate freedom, they should teach them critical skills and allow them to realize their boundaries. For example, parents should teach their children how ride a bike, to look both ways, and to manage their time so that they may prepare for examinations.

Use How Instead of Why

Parents should avoid asking "why" inquiries because they do not foster problem-solving. Instead, they should utilize "how" inquiries to teach their children other skills, such as how to repair a bike chain or how to deal with rowdy lads on the bus.

Tolerating Uncertainty

Instead of giving their children every answer, parents should say, "I don't know," and then encourage problem-solving. This empowers children to learn to handle ambiguity and to consider prospective obstacles.

Avoiding Catastrophic Terms

Parents should be mindful of what they say to and around their children. They should avoid saying things like "it'd be awful to me if you drowned!" around their children while discussing learning to swim.

Allowing Children to Make Mistakes

Parents should allow their children to make mistakes in order for them to learn how to correct errors and make educated judgments in the future. Allowing children to witness the repercussions of their actions, such as sitting on the bench in the next football game if they do not attend practice, is beneficial.

Helping Children Manage Emotions

Emotional intelligence and self-regulation are essential for children's resilience. Parents can teach their children that all emotions are normal, but they must consider what they will do next after experiencing their emotions.

Modeling Adaptability

Seeing their parents' actions also teaches children about flexibility. To teach their children how to control their emotions, parents must remain calm and consistent. They should also recognize their errors and discuss how to manage similar circumstances in the future.

Julissa DiStefano

I’m Julissa and I’ve had the opportunity to work with parents and children for the last 15 years. In those years I've had the honor and privilege to work with many different families and different parenting styles, child rearing techniques and familial practices.

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