Use Your Family Crisis To Teach Your Children Resilience

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

With over 10 million Americans applying for unemployment, it’s clear our country is going through a rough patch.

Whether your home is experiencing economic hardship, or simply grieving the loss of a school year or extracurricular activities, chances are your children are facing tough times.

Even worse, they’re feeling it.

Maybe they don’t exactly understand what the coronavirus is, and how a virus could literally bring the entire world to its knees.

They might be upset the family vacation to Disney World was canceled, and still not understand why they can’t go to church with grandma on Sundays.

But it’s during a crisis you can teach your child one of the most valuable lessons – the power of resilience.

 

Make It Or Break It

Resilience is the ability to withstand the storm.

It doesn’t mean the storm isn’t painful or without damage, but it means you come out the other side.

Whatever situation you are going through in your home, teach your child the power of staying the course and refusing to give up, even as the rest of the world seems to be crumbling.

If you lost your job, show them how you still get up and apply for jobs, or how you’re willing to work anywhere to make ends meet.

They’ll see your tenacity lived out in real time, and understand the power of pressing on when the going gets tough.

 

Don’t Lie

Many parents wrongly assume their children are “too young” to understand what is really going on.

Or, they think by lying to hide the truth it somehow protects them.

No matter the age of their child, don’t underestimate their ability to comprehend what is happening.

Even if a child can’t quite figure out exact circumstances, they can pick up on if things are tense or mom is uneasy.

This doesn’t mean you have to tell your child every single detail, but be honest with them.

If they ask why dad isn’t going to work, and the truth is dad lost his job, it can even be something like “Daddy lost his job for the moment, but he’s looking for a new one that will be an even better one”.

Let them talk about how they are feeling – whether fear or anxiety.

Now is the perfect time to help them articulate their feelings.

 

They’re Watching You

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And remember, your child is watching how you handle problems that arise.

Do you curse God, or thank Him for your blessings?

Do you turn to despair and self-loathing, or use a crisis as a way to improve and get even stronger?

In fact, often times it  isn’t even the crisis that startles children, it’s how you deal with it.

If you are panicked and anxious, your child can pick up on that.

Instead, help your child to understand that sometimes in life things happen that are beyond our control, and use it as an example to teach them to “accept the things we cannot change” and work towards changing what we can.

Show them examples of situations that are in their control (such as their attitude towards something) vs. things that are out of their control (someone dying, job loss, school closing, etc).

If you teach your child to rise up during adversity instead of shrinking back in fear, this skill will serve them well throughout their life.

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