Resilience: How Your Parenting Style Can Help Nurture Your Child’s Resilience
Parental influence on child development is deep and far-reaching. Find out how your parenting style affects your child, according to Dr Valerie Jaques.
Children often mimic their parents and responsible children are most likely raised by responsible parents. When it comes to daily chores, homework, or even prepping for school, these children understand what’s required of them, and face each challenge independently.
But the full investment of building resilient children is only realised when they mature into young adults. Which university or future employer would turn their back on an individual who unveils a track record of turning initial weakness into a strength?
Take for instance, a school debater or track and field runner who shows an annual improvement. From bronze medals to silver and finally gold, these individuals have proven their Resilience by overcoming the early shortcomings to better their performance. We’ll share a parenting style that builds Resilience in them, so your child possesses the ability to bounce back from any challenges and strives for a successful future.
What Is Your Parenting Style?
Mums and dads tend to assume four parenting styles: Authoritarian, Indulgent (permissive), Free-Range and Helicopter. Each style has its own pros and cons, its own advantages and disadvantages in developing a resilient child. We describe them below:
• Authoritarian Parenting
The authoritarian parenting style – also known as the sergeant major style – is one characterised by harsh discipline. Unless the child is compliant and follows instructions to a T, children with authoritarian parents often live in fear of punishment.
This style can either form a compliant child or a rebellious one. Neither behaviour encourages Self-Reliance or Adaptability. However, the rigid structure can offer some benefits as it is an assured system that will not bend with trends or mood swings. The child may learn to Perseverance in tough situations or become Resourceful to meet parental expectations.
• Indulgent Parenting
An indulgent parenting style, while allowing the child to make individual decisions, offers little or no guidance on the part of the parent. This creates a situation where the child is not given the opportunity to develop Perseverance. We often see this behaviour in children who are given unlimited access to smartphones and tablets.
Without solid structure, children will never learn the significance of choosing the path less travelled. The upside is that it can teach children to be Self-Reliant and Daring.
• Free-Range Parenting
When both parents are in specialized or high-stress jobs, they may adopt an autonomous or free-range style. This means children are often left to set their own timetables and make their own decisions. This may result in children who are unable to tell the difference between what is important and what is not. Left to figure things out rules and norms on their own, they can get hurt without adequate adult supervision.
As much as parents are encouraged to constantly be around, this style of parenting has developed children who are uniquely resilient. They are more Daring and Resourceful to obtain the help of peers, neighbours and friends. They are also able to Adapt to different requirements in different settings.
• Helicopter Parenting
The Asian mother is typically seen as a Tiger Mum, which is reflective of the helicopter parenting style. But unlike the former, helicopter parents are emotionally available, quickly providing warmth and a listening ear should it be required.
This last style sees the parent affording a sense of respect for the child, in efforts to encourage independent thinking and cooperation. But their good intentions may result in ‘helicopter parenting’ with mum constantly hovering to dish out discipline and indulgence in equal measure.
Overall, each of these parenting styles may not adequately raise a resilient child. With an over- or underemphasis on various Resilient pillars, parents should instead adopt Resilient Parenting.
Raising Resilient Children
To put it briefly, raising resilient children requires parents to be mindful of the Five Pillars of Resilience. Our objective is to have children who rise to make the most of life’s challenges and opportunities, bouncing back from setbacks to strive for future success.
Mums and dads who allow their children to face challenging situations are practicing Resilient Parenting. The ultimate goal is to prepare our children for things that happen in life that no parent can predict. The world will be a different place in just 20 years. There will be jobs that don’t even exist yet, unexpected economic booms and recessions, and even environmental concerns that affect all of humanity.
Our children must be Daring enough to share new ideas, Resourceful enough to offer clever solutions based on limited options, and Adapt to fast-changing environments. They must also Persevere through difficulties and be adequately Self-Reliant to trust their instincts.
As a mother in a recent tAp survey remarked, resilient parents prepare their child for the path ahead, instead of preparing the path for their child. With a view towards independent thought and action, resilient parents act as guides and listening ears, instead of the mechanisms to push and pull their children forward. They provide encouragement and alternative perspectives by helping children break-down big problems into smaller, easier to manage hurdles so they will not be overwhelmed.
Putting Resilience Into Practice
All parents want Self-Reliant children. Mum and dad’s first step is to impart the belief that their children are competent and capable of looking after themselves. Simple cake baking is one activity where children can be given a degree of autonomy. Guide them and reveal how the labor of mixing precise measurements and being their own baker becomes meaningful when they have a delicious cake to eat at the end of it. By teaching Self-Reliance, parents allow their children to make their own decisions while being connected to family and friends.
Children will also need to be Adaptable. The ability to “shift gears” with changing environments is a crucial survival skill. Parents can introduce Adaptability by arranging ‘surprise’ playdates. In a group, children will need to play cooperatively to ensure a fun and rewarding time for all participants. Don’t forget to encourage imaginative play. Do this by using household props as part of their playtime - repurposing a paper towel roll as a telescope is one example. Adaptability is the ability to respond suitably and quickly to thrive in challenging environments.
Parents will also need to expose their children to a degree of risk. By allowing your children to do something “risky”, parents are actually building Daringness in them. Jump Street Asia is an exciting, very safe and challenging space with numerous activities to encourage your child to be Daring. Remember, to be Daring is to have the courage to try something new and experiment with the unknown. For more locations that reflect the Five Pillars of Resilience, check out AptaGro™ Resilience location list here.
And if your child is hesitant to jump into one of Jump Street’s foam pits, don’t worry. Perseverance is only built on the third or fourth try. As parents, be sure to recognize and reward your child for working at something, no matter the result. Cheer them on when they don’t give up and applaud their persistence. If ice-skating is new to you, this is a great activity to try together with your child. Fall, laugh and get up and try again! Perseverance is to keep trying despite failure and achieve success because of determination.
Finally, there’s Resourcefulness - the talent for finding quick and clever solutions in challenging environments. Thinking out-of-the-box will get your children where they need to go in life. When facing obstacles and even frustration, if your child is able to use tools and materials on hand to create new solutions, this certainly guarantees future success. You can teach the concept of thinking about things in new and different ways to your children too. Create a rocket ship out of old toilet rolls or a flower-collage from old magazines. If art projects aren’t your forte, the AptaGro™ Resilience location list is a great resource for a day trip to waterfalls to learn about being Resourceful in new surroundings.