Resilient children possess certain qualities and/or ways of viewing themselves and the world that are not apparent in youngsters who have not been successful in meeting challenges and pressures. Resilient youngsters are able to translate this view, or mindset, into effective action. Resilient children are also hopeful and possess high self-worth. What contributes to this sense of hopefulness and self-worth?
Resilient youngsters feel special and appreciated. They have learned to set realistic goals and expectations for themselves. They have developed the ability to solve problems and make decisions and thus are more likely to view mistakes, hardships, and obstacles as challenges to confront rather than as stressors to avoid. They rely on productive coping strategies that are growthfostering rather than self-defeating. They are aware of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but they also recognize their strong points and talents.
Their self-concept is filled with images of strength and competence. They have developed effective interpersonal skills with peers and adults alike. They areable to seek out assistance and nurturance in a comfortable, appropriate manner from adults who can provide the support they need. Finally, they are able to define the aspects of their lives over which they have control and to focus their energy and attention on these rather than on factors over which they have little, if any, influence.
Developing a resilient mindset is what we would hope for all children. Aresilient child is an emotionally healthy child, equipped to successfully confront challenges and bounce back from setbacks. In a sense, the child just described is a “product”; it is how we would like our children to turn out, how we would like our children to view themselves and others. How do we use The Dreams and Wishes of Parents every situation, every interaction we have with our children as part of a process to reinforce this product? How do we develop an approach that continually works to strengthen a child’s resilience?