Resiliency in tweens
Parents today “don’t let their kids struggle,” writes Jess Hopkins, certified teen life coach (www.mycoachjess.com) . She worries that the present generation is being raised to be “oversensitive sissies,” instead of learning to cope with emotions like pain, self-doubt and embarrassment. Hopkins advocates Albert Ellis’ ABC Model. Ellis, a world famous psychologist, said that depending on how we interpret problems or adversity, the outcome will vary.
- Ellis’ model begins with Adversity (any problem, big or small, the “trigger.”
- That leads to Consequences (emotions and behaviors that result from Adversity.
- The crucial step in understanding this is Beliefs, or how we view what caused the adversity and the implications.
- This makes the ABC model – Adversity, Beliefs, and Consequences.
- Kids need to see that by choosing a reality based, resilient outcome, they can avoid feeling like a failure and giving up. It is not the adversity that leads to negativity; it is the perspective we had of the problem.
The Raising Children Network, with the Centre forAdolescent Health (www.raisingchildren.net.au) says we can define resiliency by the ability to ‘bounce back’ after a tough time and then feel as good as you felt before. They also say it is “the ability to adapt to difficult circumstances that you can’t change, and keep on thriving.” It is more than coping. It means you can take risks to achieve goals.
- Strong positive relationships with parents can give child strength.
- Self-respect, empathy, respect, kindness, honesty and cooperation build self esteem.
- Good connections with school friends, community groups, sports or arts activities help with growth.
- If your child is realistic, rational, has a sense of humor and is optimistic, he or she will be prepared to be resilient.
- Help tweens develop their specific strengths and know their limitations.
- Find activities that will turn adolescent low moods into better ones.
Don’t forget that adolescence is “designed for failure, recovery, and growth,” according to Kenneth Ginsberg, M.D., pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist (www.psychologytoday.com). Dr. Ginsberg suggests that parents need to show their children what to do, not just tell them. We need to prepare them for stress by helping them develop the ability to overcome adversity and gain the self-awareness to see their limitations.
Above all, let your children make mistakes. We all learn from our mistakes. Just be sure that he or she acquires the skills to cope with their problems and rise above them. If you don’t succeed the first time, try, try again!