At my workshop parents and I talked about the importance of instilling resiliency in our young people.
“I’m worried about my daughter. She has anxiety and I’m not sure she can handle being on her own.”
It’s a worry that many Boomer (and Gen X) parents have expressed about their millennial children.
Maybe it’s because parents don’t seem to allow their children to fail and make mistakes. Maybe it’s because the school system doesn’t allow teachers to fail their student if they have failing grades. Or because they have several opportunities to hand in their assignments without any type of censure.
Why are we failing our kids?
There are all sorts of reasons, but the bottom line is that we are failing our young people. School is the exact right place TO fail. It’s safe. If you fail at school the worst thing that can happen is that you stay behind a grade. And that’s the absolute worst thing. So you may have to take summer school. I did. It was math. I probably failed- again.
But what happens if you finally fail in “the real world”?
You lose it. Completely. You have a break down. You could lose your job. You could lose your house. That’s not safe.
So what can parents do to help cultivate resiliency in their children?
Help them figure out their purpose. How many people have spent years and years trying to figure out their place in the world? Puddle Jump Coaching can help. I know what it is like to feel lost without purpose and direction. If I can help one young person get through that feeling without the pain and heartache, that’s what it’s all about.
You can listen. When your child has a problem or an issue, listen to her. Value what she is telling you. If you can’t understand exactly, at least appreciate where she is coming from. And let her know that you do appreciate her.
Give them opportunities to build their true self-esteem. Dr. Nathaniel Branden said it best: ”
Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life, and as being worthy of happiness. Thus, it consists of two components: (1) self-efficacy – confidence in one’s ability to think, learn, choose, and make appropriate decisions; and (2) self-respect – confidence that love, friendship, achievement, success – in a word, happiness – are natural and appropriate.
Self-esteem is not the euphoria or buoyancy that may be temporarily induced by a drug, a compliment, or a love affair. If it is not grounded in reality, if it is only a delusion in someone’s consciousness — if it is not built over time through such practices as living consciously, self-responsibly, and with integrity, discussed below — it is not self-esteem . We cannot “give” a child self-esteem; but we can support the practices that will lead a child to self-esteem, and abstain from the actions that tend to undermine a child’s self-esteem.
It’s scary for young people who have never been taught how to pay their bills, how to do their own laundry or deal with the challenges of life. It’s not “adulting” – it’s just growing up. We owe it to our young people to prevent them from having a quarter mid-life crisis. All their lives they have heard how special they are – isn’t it about time they learned the true meaning of self-esteem?