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Character Building: How Parents Raise Resilient Comeback Kids

By Jean Tracy, MSS

When resilience fails so does character. Today we'll offer problems and solutions for helping your children to be ‘Comeback Kids' when they are hurt or disappointed. The goal is to help them bounce back from difficulties.

Have you ever been annoyed when a friend responded badly to your misfortune? Even well-meaning friends can let you down when they think they're picking you up.

3 Minimizing Responses that Irritate

1. Well at least…
2. It could have been worse.
3. That's nothing. You should have seen when I…

Friends think they're helping when they ignore your feelings. Their quick solutions to look on the bright side, failure to ask about your feelings, and eagerness to talk about their own problems can turn you off. Such replies put your children off too.

Let's say your daughter, Mari, is upset because her classmate revealed to her teacher that Mari didn't like her. Now your daughter is afraid her teacher will react badly.

3 Parenting Solutions that Soothe

1. I'm sorry that happened.
2. How are you feeling about it?
3. Tell me more.

These responses work because of your willingness to go to Mari's feelings. By building a bridge-of-caring your child can more easily bounce back because she knows you understand. She might even figure out how to make a bad situation better. Without it she could remain stuck in her sad, angry, or anxious thoughts.

How to Model Resilience

Share a problem of your own. Then prompt your children for their empathy and solutions on how you might recover and move ahead.

A Sample Problem to Share with Kids

Perhaps you forgot your wallet at the gas pump. Your tank is almost empty. You see a line of cars waiting for you to hurry up. You ask the person behind you for help. She puts a few gallons for you on her bill.

At the dinner table ask for your children's empathy, "How do you think I felt?" Compliment them for understanding your feelings. Then ask, "What would you have done?" Appreciate their solutions. Find out if they learned anything positive from your predicament. Perhaps they'll say:

1. People can be kind.
2. Asking for help gives the other person the opportunity to do a good deed.
3. It makes me want to be helpful too.

By sharing your dilemmas and asking your children to look for positive outcomes, you're teaching them how to find opportunities in problems. This is the opposite of giving up. This is bouncing back.

The Resilience Solution:

1. Go to feelings.
2. Listen well.
3. Brainstorm solutions.
4. Look for the positive results.

Conclusion: The Character Building Answer for Resilience

Experience shows that life is not a smooth ride. There will always be challenges to conquer. As a parent, you want your children to face their trials with flexibility and spirit.

Give kids the caring they need for their problems. Let them know you understand. Listen well. Ask for their solutions. Help them find the positives resulting from their troubles.

To move the process forward share your own challenges, get their empathy, answers, and vision on how to create opportunities out of difficulties. If you do, you'll be teaching them how to be resilient ‘Comeback Kids' and building character too.


Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to sign up for her FREE Parenting Newsletter and receive:

80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Kids
101 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Cooperate

Raise Comeback Kids with The Dilemma Discussion Kit You'll find 51 dilemmas to help your kids bounce back from problems.

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