Tips for Raising a Resillient Child

Dr. Ava talks about teaching kids the importance of bouncing back from disappointment.
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The Benefits of Bouncing Back

Dr. Ava

Q. My son seems to take everyday frustrations and disappointments so hard. My daughter, on the other hand, doesn't seem bothered by the same things. How can I encourage my son to handle things as well?

A. Why are some children easygoing while others seem high strung? Some tense and rigid while others are flexible? Some very sensitive while others appear sturdy? The answer lies in a combination of nature and nurture -- your child's inborn temperament plus what she learns as she develops.

We now know that babies are born with many temperamental traits, and prized among them is resiliency -- the ability to absorb life's disappointments and bounce back. Some children, right from the start, seem to possess this wonderful quality. As infants, even when they're tired or hungry they rarely fuss or cry; as toddlers they pick themselves right up with a smile when they fall down; as preschoolers, they don't dissolve into tears when it's another child's turn on the tricycle, and as schoolaged children, each time they make a mistake, instead of falling apart, they renew their efforts to get it right.

But fortunately, even if your child wasn't born resilient, you can still teach her a lot about how to negotiate life's hurdles more easily. But to do this, you need to understand what behavioral characteristics contribute to resiliency. These include:

  1. A high frustration tolerance.
    The ability to absorb disappointments without giving in or giving up.
  2. Perseverance.
    The ability to try and try again, re-doubling your efforts even when you've failed.
  3. Self-regulation and self-soothing.
    The capacity to hold on to a good sense of self even when bad things happen.
  4. Perspective.
    The ability to transform negative experiences so that you can gain something positive from them.

Continued on page 2:  How to Help Your Child


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