As parents, as much as it pains us to say it, we will not always be there for our kids. You can’t trail behind your middle schooler in the hallways to ward off bullies. You can’t force the basketball coach to add your high schooler to the team roster after they had a bad try-out. And you can’t always be there to comfort your college-aged baby when they don’t do well on a test.
However, there is something you can do to prepare them for unexpected and unfortunate moments in their lives:
You can train your child’s brain for happiness and strength.
You can give them the tools they need to work through losses, bounce back from disappointments, and be emotionally strong enough to take on any challenges they face.
Starting at a young age, you can do these simple things to raise children with strong emotionally skills and instil core values. In turn, their brains will be wired for happiness.
1) Teach Them to Label Their Emotions
Growing evidence suggests that it is difficult to identify and label the variety of emotions we experience after centre time. Statistics show that 60 per cent of interviewed college students said they did not feel emotionally prepared to deal with negative feelings such as anxiety and disappointment.
You may hear a child express that their ‘belly hurts’ when they are anxious. Or if you ask how their day was they may answer well” or “fine”. Encourage them to express how they are feeling.
2) Practice and Encourage Gratitude
Teaching your children to be grateful and appreciative is an important factor in their future happiness. Many studies have linked gratitude to improved physical health, better sleep, improved self-esteem, and overall happier adults. Neuroscientists have shown that the practice is rewired when gratitude is practised. You can teach your child gratitude by encouraging manners and frequently asking questions for them to reflect.
Use small failures, losses, or disappointments as teaching opportunities. Whether a board game, a sporting event or even a board game, support them through the loss and help them understand that this is a part of life. Teach your children to lose elegantly, congratulate opponents (if it applies), and work hard. When things don’t go as planned, discuss what they can do in the future to prepare differently or practice harder.
4) Give Them Space to Make Mistakes and Work Through Them
Resist the tempting urge to swoop in and prevent your child from making a mistake. Allow them to slip up and learn from the outcome.
When we hover over children and guide them away from every little threat, we are not preparing them for the world ahead of them.
Let them fall and scrape their knee. Allow them to work out an argument with their friend or sibling. Give your problem-solve opportunity to learn how to problem-solve.
Lastly, if they come to you for help, don’t just solve their problem for them. Talk through three possible solutions to their problem, and what they think would be the best course of action.
5) Teach Responsibility
Prepare your child for future responsibilities by introducing them to chores. Research suggests that children who do chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better equipped to deal with frustration. Additionally, these skills can lead to greater success in school, work, and even relationships.
Also, teach your children to take responsibility for their actions. If your child makes a bad choice, you can talk to them about how to fix it.
Remember, teach them to never play the’ victim card’. Don’t make comments that divert blame such as, “I am sure you cheated because your teacher didn’t do a good job teaching the lesson” or “You probably didn’t make the basketball team because the coach wasn’t paying attention.” Instead, focus on accepting the outcome and the best future steps to take.
They will pick themselves up. It, I,s important,tant for parents to teach their children how to handle their emotions, at an early age.