How to raise resilient kids
At a glance
Next time your child is furrowing their brow and staring off into space, ask them if they're thinking dolphin or shark thoughts. That's the advice from psychologist and resilience specialist Andrew Fuller on helping your child to recognise the positive (dolphin) or negative (shark) approaches they may be taking on life issues.
"Dolphin thinking can help you out and shark thinking can eat you up. It doesn't matter how old your kids are, they can still understand it," Andrew says.
Dolphin thinking and shark thinking is just one in a series of simple tools you can use to help your child develop good resilience skills. Other tools include playing games and puzzles with your child to develop their problem-solving and concentration skills, teaching your child to read people's emotions to understand objective situations, and helping them to learn how to cheer themselves up after a hard day.
Learning to become successful is one of the most important aspects of building resilience.
"The things that are most important are teaching children what a good life is, how to live life well, how to extract pleasure out of things and how to turn things around when they're tough," Andrew says.
Benefits of resilience
Skills in resilience are promoted in NSW Public Schools because through them children fare well in life. Research shows children with good resilience perform better at school and are less likely to take part risky behaviour, particularly as they enter the teenage years.
The education department's principle psychologist, Ron Balderston, describes resilience as a shock absorber for the potholes of life.
"Resilient children know how to cope and have developed skills that enable them to flex so they can manage life's blows when they happen without them getting too down, stuck on ways that aren't helping or giving up," Ron says.
Andrew says learning to become successful is one of the most important aspects of building resilience.
"Success is contagious and if you have a feeling you can be successful in one avenue of your life then the likelihood of that ricocheting into other areas of your life is high."
Top tips on building resilience
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