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A Daily Parenting Advice Podcast. Non-Pretentious. In less than 3min a day!

S5-Ep196 - Resilience in Children – Harvard Edition

July 11, 2019



 So yesterday we were inspired by a USA today story which gave us a little glimpse into raising winners. As with all things in life there’s not a 100% perfect guide to every situation – so we, as parents have to pick up knowledge here and there and sort through the bullshit to real shit.

Resilience. Yea, there’s some Harvard research on that.

 Want to know what they said?

   They said a bunch of boring stuff!  But I wade through this so you don’t have to. So if you’re the kind of people who say, yea theory is a good start – let’s see how we can actuall implement it. I’m with you. You and I are going to be friends!

                Ok, boring dude number one:  “Kids need … ‘Skills and abilities that give people a sense of mastery and management of difficulty.’

  • That was BAF, but I think we can boil it down to this – practice makes perfect and when you realize that what we’re talking about here is, at it’s most basic, failure. You’re going to revolt as a parent. You’re going to tell me “I’m not going to put my kid in a shitty school corporation just so (s)he can learn to overcome”. And I’m with you. I’m putting my kid in the best programs I can find. That’s just normal. But there are smaller things that you can do every day that are similar to failure. Not all stress is harmful.
  • Today, make your kid solve their own problem. And give them real time to think of a solution – some kids know you’re going to cave anyway, so they wait you out. If you’ve got a kid like that – tell them to come back and ask in 3 minutes.

Boring guy #2: Resilience is built over time.

        This just means we don’t have to get it done tonight. Parenting is a long game people. 

There are 4 things on this Harvard list to build resilience. (which I’ve included in the show notes)  I’m going to focus on #2 mainly.

  1. facilitating supportive adult-child relationships;
  2. (focus on this) building a sense of self-efficacy and perceived control;
  • Perceived control is key. To do this, ask them questions – all the time. Do you want a or b, - always make it two things at this age – as part of the bedtime routine I ask, ‘brushing teeth first?’or ‘go to the bathroom first’. I’ve brainwashed myself to always ask, shirt first or pants first – to my 3 year old. It gives him control over the situation. A vs b. Over and over.
  1. providing opportunities to strengthen adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities;
  2. mobilizing sources of faith, hope, and cultural traditions.