Raising Resilient Children
Parents and Teachers Working in Partnership to Empower the Children in Our Lives
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Chapter One: What is Resilience?
- Chapter Two: The Nature of Praise
- Chapter Three: The Voice Inside Your Head
- Chapter Four: The Power of “Yet”
- Chapter Five: How to Succeed at Failing
- Chapter Six: Give Yourself a Break!
- Chapter Seven: Gratitude, Happiness and Emotional Resilience
- Chapter Eight: Social Comparison, Motivation and Goal Setting
- Chapter Nine: Establishing a True Partnership
- Chapter Ten: Final Thoughts
When I thought about writing this book, almost immediately, self-doubt crept in. A little voice inside my head whispered, “Who do you think you are? What entitles you to be an expert on resilience?” I have never declared myself to be an expert. I am a mother, a teacher, and a student. I do not have a Doctorate degree. I am not a world-renowned expert in my field. However, I have experienced, observed, and learned many things during the course of my professional and academic career, thus far. I am a teacher at heart, and I am compelled to do what teachers do best—share knowledge. As I continue on my learning journey, I would simply like to share with you what I have discovered so far, for the lessons have proven valuable in both my home and in my classroom.
In 15 years of teaching, I have met many families and children, each with their own stories of triumph and struggle. Much of my career was spent working in an inner city elementary school, an environment which surprised and shocked me on a near daily basis. Often, I would drive home with a heavy heart, thinking of the adversity some of these children experienced in their lives: poverty, addiction, neglect, and abuse were common in the neighborhood I taught in. This, of course, is at the ←ix | x→extreme end of the spectrum. There were many loving and functional families too. However, I observed that many children, regardless of socio-economic status or family situation, experience challenge to some degree: divorce, illness or death of a loved one, for instance. Obstacles may be even smaller, yet still significant in their young lives: academic struggle, learning challenges and friendship issues are common. After years spent observing, guiding and supporting children through the tough moments life serves us, I became fascinated by my students’ reactions to challenge. I was inspired by the inner strength some students demonstrated and saddened to see others crumble under the weight of adversity.
Many years ago, I met a student who had one of most horrific childhoods one would dare to imagine. This child’s mother was an addict, who funded her habit by selling her body. While she invited clients into her home, she would lock her children in a dog kennel. When I met this student, he had luckily come into a healthier environment, but I braced myself to meet a child who was resentful, withdrawn, or possibly acted out in anger. This was not the case. Despite his scarring past, this student was delightful—bright, happy, and kind. I was struck by his quiet inner strength. I found myself wondering how he could have overcome his circumstances with such wisdom and grace. Was his positive attitude merely a reflection of the temperament he was born with or was it a conscious choice?
While some children rise above their circumstances and overcome problematic situations, other children seem to flee or fall apart when faced with challenge. While some adapt to each new setback, others seem to become paralyzed by burden. Over and over again, I asked myself what is the difference between children who overcome adversity and children who falter?
As a mother, I have witnessed my own children struggle. When they were young, I divorced their father and their whole world was turned upside down. Not only was their foundation rocked by the separation of their parents, but they moved houses, changed schools and had to adapt to life lived between two worlds: mom’s and dad’s. As they grew, they suffered loss of family members through old age and illness. They lost pets (which may seem trivial to some, but leaves a hole ←x | xi→in the heart of many). They struggled with school, friendships and big feelings. I constantly wondered how to best support them. Sometimes, I simply felt at a loss and grappled with more questions than answers. How can I raise kids who are in touch with their emotions, but who are strong and have the ability to adapt? How can I teach them to look for the lessons life has to offer? Is that even developmentally appropriate for young children? Can they possess such insight?
My interest in these mystifying questions has lead me to the University of British Columbia, where I began to study social emotional development in children and research reactions to challenge. What I have discovered, thus far, can be summed up in a single word: resilience. Resilience seems to be the ingredient, which can predict success or failure in regards to challenge. It is what inspires children to thrive, even in environments that try to push them down. It is what motivates children to keep going and to become better.
The information I pass along in this book is through multiple lenses: graduate student, teacher and parent. As a graduate student, I was curious and fascinated by resilience or lack thereof in children. I wonder, can resilience be taught or is it a trait one is born with? As a teacher, I guide my students to become critical and creative thinkers, to persevere and to understand that success takes time and effort. As a parent, I see my own children struggle and stumble, at times. Like many of you, I want them to be happy, confident and tenacious. With all of this in mind, the question I dedicate my research to has evolved: How can educators and parents work together to raise resilient children?
- XIV, 114
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2020 (February)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XIV, 114 pp.