You are really good at failing.
No, really. Do you remember the first time you fell off your bike? Failure.
What about that time you got that D on a test? Failure.
Your first kiss? Oh man, big time failure, or maybe that was just me.
See, really good at failing. Except, what makes a person good at failing isn’t the actual failure part, it’s the resiliency that comes after: picking the bike back up, studying harder for that next test, practicing on the pillow at home… oh wait, just me again.
Obviously not everyone is good at failing, but I’m willing to bet that you are. After all, you’re reading a parenting article to become a better parent. I could probably go so far as to say that failing, figuring out how to bounce back and emerging a better person for it are a part of your DNA.
So, here’s the question then: How can you pass this on to your child? How can you teach your child to be good at failure? How can you raise a hardy, resilient child who can face pretty much anything and come out the other end a heck of a lot stronger?
Raising a Resilient Child: The Epiphany
I remember my first experience with it very well. My oldest was two. I was watching her from the park bench and nursing her newborn brother when she fell and scraped her knee. I could see there was no blood and she wasn’t going to need any first-aid, but I still felt torn as her little eyes welled up with tears.
“Mommy come kiss!” she pleaded.
I didn’t respond. How do you kiss a knee and breastfeed at the same time?
“Mommy kiss!” she repeated.
Necessity is the mother of all invention.
“Can you give it a kiss better?” I asked. That was her first lesson in resiliency.
Her little head cocked to the side as she pondered my question. The tears stopped like lightening. In a flash she had kissed her own knee and was back on the playground as if nothing had happened.
At first I felt guilty for my inability to be in two places at once, but after thinking about it I started to feel pretty good about myself and the inadvertent resiliency training I was doing. Of course, as I would quickly learn, there’s a lot more to teaching resiliency than simply kissing your own knee.
Here are some of the other things I’ve learnt along the way about raising a resilient child-