Emotional resilience helps children to understand themselves, their strengths, think in a more flexible and resourceful way, care for others, and thereby become more confident learners and social beings, coping better with the ups and downs of childhood and life.
As parents we tend to want to protect, solve all their problems, make everything right but is this encouraging our children to be independent thinkers who can resolve life’s challenges that will inevitably come their way, on their own. Are we setting them up to fall apart when they first experience failure, disappointment when we are not there to ‘manage’ , ‘control’, ‘resolve’ the situation for them?
What is ‘Emotional Resilience’ ?
‘Emotional resilience and emotional intelligence are elements of a ‘growth mind-set’ which is about improving, being an adventurous learner, enjoying putting in the effort and viewing mistakes as useful learning.’
What is meant by emotional coaching and to practice this with other adults in a role play situation. (Sample technique to handle an emotional situation that will ensure our children have the skills to deal with their emotions, e.g. when dealing with peers and friendships).
After a practice run, parents used the following emotional coaching approach:
LISTEN – let them tell you all about their worry, concern, troubles and note what emotions your child is expressing
ACKNOWLEDGE their feelings (show empathy)
NAME that emotion
SHOW SUPPORT: Say you would love to solve this for them if you could
INVITE SOLUTIONS: Ask them what they think could be done
What should you do about that?
What do you think you might do to resolve that?
When do you think you might be able to do that?
……..only offer suggestions if they can’t find their own solutions and if you do so, only say,
I wonder if you might consider….
Have you thought about perhaps……
How about considering…….
HEAR them come up with their own solutions.
However, try not to let the situation go on and on.
Encourage your child to think in degrees of problem:
‘How important is this problem on a scale of 1 to 10?’ Encourage them to allocate their own score to their issues and worries and start to think about how important they are in the grand scale of worries. If things are allocated a low score, start to encourage an inclination to:
‘Shut up and move on’ or walk away
CONSTELLATIONS (for peer problems or situations involving a lot of other people):
Ask your child to draw a dot in the middle of a piece of paper and to put crosses where other people are in relation to themselves
Focus on the page and don’t make eye contact (it can be distracting from for the person doing the exercise).
Ask them to add lines or dots to represent the links between the people they have put onto the page.
Ask your child what they notice about the gaps or the links between the people.
Ask your child to think about what it’s like to be the other people and to:
‘Put themselves in the other’s shoes.’
‘What is the other friend feeling when this happens?’
‘How do you think that friend is feeling right now?’
For more information visit the website www.bullies2buddies
Notice the language we and our children use.
Listen out for the blockers: ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘buts’, ‘can’t’, ‘don’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘not’
‘I never keep friends for long’,
‘You always say it’s my fault’,
‘You never take my side.
It’s not fair!’
These words can block thinking and hence the solutions.
Give ‘permissions’ to unlock the language blockers. E.g. ‘What would it be like if you could do X or Y.’
The ABC model: Psychologist and researcher Dr. Albert Ellis created the ABC model to help us understand the meaning of our reactions to adversity:
A is the Adversity—the situation or event.
B is our Belief—our explanation about why the situation happened.
C is the Consequence—the feelings and behaviours that our belief causes.
Activity: Mary finds out that she wasn’t invited to a party at school, but her friend Janice was invited.
What does Mary think to herself using the ABC model to better understand why she has reacted to this situation in a certain way?
Remember we, as parents, react to certain situations that we find our children in, because of our own past experiences as children ourselves. Try to remain impartial, independent in the way we see the troubles our children face.
Coping with disappointments, not achieving ‘goals’ for success, not being included
My child did not get a speaking part in the school play.
My child did not make it into the A team.
Think if it is your aspirations as a parent for them to achieve this goal or theirs
Discuss their goals with them, what they personally would like to ‘improve’, ‘achieve’, ‘get involved in.’
Discuss how they might achieve this:
A What are the children who are achieving this goal doing that is different?
B How might your child improve their skills? eg holiday course or workshops
C How might they put themselves forward to ‘be noticed’ next time?
D Ask the teacher at school how and what they might improve to have a chance of success next time.
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (How to Help Your Child) by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
Developing Children’s Emotional Intelligence (Continuum Education) (A book for teachers)