I honestly feel that RESILIENCE is one of the most important quality that every child should have. I feel it is something a child has to build up over time. Growing up is not an easy task, and as parents, we shouldn’t pave the road with gold bricks.
Hi! I’m Su Chin, and I am a parent of 3 boys. I’m not a parenting expert with PhDs and accolades behind my name. I’m just an observer and a learner. I learn so much from my kids. I learn so much from other people’s kids. I volunteer as a parent helper for my Grade 1 son and my 3 year old Kinder son. I’m no expert in the Teen years yet…but I’m taking all this in now, to gain experience points (oh no..playing too many games on Facebook!) to help me cope with the not-so-distant teenage years.
Here, I’m going to share with you how we should prepare our kids that failing, is part of success. One example I’ve experienced is playing board games with my first son. We first started playing, when he decided to join the chess club in school. Chess. Hmm…probably the hardest game to win. Well, he learnt how each piece moved from the chess teacher..so I didn’t get a boil, getting him to understand how a knight moves. As we started our first game, it was evident that he thought the objective of the game was to ‘eat’ as many pieces as possible. Well.. I ate his queen and declared a “check-mate”, to which he asked, “Does this mean it’s over? You won?”. I nodded my head..and he sat there, trying so hard to hold his tears in. To him, this was his first lost. He was trying so hard to swallow that lump of losing…but the dam broke. Tears started rolling down his cheeks and I knew he didn’t understand what losing meant.
C’mon… who has deliberately let their kid win in a board game? I won’t tell anyone. We want to let our kids taste the sweet smell of success. We want them to be winners! But..we can’t let them win all the time, can we? I feel that it would make them lose respect for other players. Become gloaters. A gloating winner is the worst person to play with.
I’m glad to say, 2 years on…and we’ve dropped playing chess (as it was taking too long to finish!), and we’re playing monopoly now. Yes, he now understands what losing means..and does not mind losing as well. And when he wins, he’s very gracious about it. He gives me a hug and tells me to try harder next time. ;D When he loses, he grins and says cheekily, “I’m gonna win the next game! Just you watch!”.
Another example I want to share was a recent experience with a pre-schooler. She goes to pre-school with my 3 year old boy. She’s one half of a twin, and the teachers have been trying to teach this set of twins to socialize with kids other than themselves. They pretty much stick together during snacks and playtime. Let’s call her “Amanda”.
This one instance, there was a group of pre-schoolers, 2 boys and 2 girls. One of the girls is pretty much the ‘top dog’ and took both boys into the cubby house. She closed the door on Amanda and told her, “You’re not allowed inside with us”.
She didn’t know how to respond, turned to me, and said, “Milly doesn’t want me to play. She’s not being nice.”
I’m no expert, so all I could say was, “If she doesn’t want to play with you, that’s ok. What do you think we should do?”. Amanda replied, “I think I wanna play with someone else. Someone else who will play with me.”. With that, we walked together to another group of kids, and she managed to blend in again. Sometimes, we have to help them problem solve a situation, so that they can apply it a little later in their lives.
I think little lessons like this help our little kids build up resilience. An understanding that our world is not perfect. That things are not given to us on a silver platter. It does sound a bit harsh when I write it this way, but I truly believe that if we continue cotton-balling them, they’ll grow up to be spoilt bratty adults. And I’m sure we all know one or two of them, be it in the office or community.
Always show your child/children that in every circumstance (good or bad), you will always love them, support them and will guide them, if necessary. Because that’s the best way to help your child realize his potentials.
Here are some great resources I want to share with you, about resilience :
- APA Help Center : What makes Kids Care in a Violent World
- Kid’s Health : Resilience
- Family TLC : 10 ways to make your children more resilient.
Parenting’s really hard work, but if you and I keep at it, and we’ll see good results in the near future!