How to Raise Strong Kids With Resilience Part 2
This is Part 2 of How to Raise Strong Kids With Resilience. I’m sharing some failures and through stories from my life that you may be able to relate to. I want to help us not repeat the past, and raise up a strong generation who will be able to lead for the glory of God, and respond to the crises that inevitably come, with the grace that faith in Christ gives them. (Don’t forget to go back later to read Part 1 of How to Raise Strong Kids With Resilience.)
Be Real and Vulnerably Share How You’ve Learned Resilience
Have you ever noticed your children sitting on the edge of their seats in rapt attention when listening to a story where you’re telling about “when you were a kid”? Your kids want to know you made mistakes, lacked confidence, did stupid stuff, or whatever they’re going through, too. They want to hear the good, bad, and the ugly (up to a point).
When appropriate, tell your child a story that relates to what he is going through. And, what you learned through it. Especially share with him what God taught you. Don’t minimize his feelings, or belittle him, comparing yourself to him unfavorably, in your inaccurate memory of the situation, or make him feel that you handled it so much better. No, that’s not the idea here.
Show empathy and understanding. Share your own experiences when appropriate to help your children.
The Problem of Weakness of Character, Lack of Resilience and lack of Responsibility
I recognize the lack of strength, the lack of character, the lack of resilience, and see it when parents are not teaching it, and I see how it’s hurting their child, perhaps because of my own childhood and teen years. (In my book, “A 2020 Vision For Raising Godly Kids,” I share more of my story.)
My parents had a time raising me. I was sassy, disrespectful, and talked back. I was rebellious, emotional, not responsible, didn’t want to work hard, acted entitled, etc., etc., etc. In my defense, I wasn’t a Christian, and we’d had a ton of sickness and death in our home, so there was a lot of instability and turbulence.
If Any of you Knew me as a Teenager, I’ve Changed
I needed to be taught resilience and how to be strong, but I wasn’t.
In my mom’s and dad’s defense, Mom had gone through so much sickness and death in her life, losing her husband and little 4-year-old boy before she married my dad, that it was especially easy to play on her emotions, and manipulate her, especially if she thought I was sick.
And, Dad, who had a temper when I was growing up, had lost his wife, too, and then both his biological kids from that first marriage had kidney disease, and he lost his 25-year-old daughter when I was 11. He had pressures of not only that, but raising his new wife’s daughter, his son, and a rebellious daughter (me), while worrying about, dealing with, and recovering from, being the donor for my brother’s kidney transplant when I was 15 years old. On top of that, there were all the financial issues to deal with from all my sister’s medical bills prior to her death, which caused my mom to have to go to work when I was 12.
Writing that out makes me appreciate what they were going through so much! That was a really rough time for all of us, but especially them! Wow!
May I suggest this exercise for you: When you get a chance, write out what your parents went through when you were growing up. It will help you as you parent your own children, and it may give you a whole new perspective and appreciation for your parents, to think about it from your now grown-up point of view!
I was not Trained to be Strong or Resilient
Though my mom told me to get control of my emotions, she allowed me to let them control me too much. She also, because of all of the above health situations in our family, allowed me to get out of doing anything remotely difficult, fearful, or a bit tough, by saying I was sick.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but I stayed home from school many times when I should have been forced to go. (I hated school–not school, but everything that came along with it–I loved learning:) I remember one situation that I’m ashamed of.
It started out well. I had stepped out of my comfort zone, showed some initiative and tried something new by joining the drama club! I was good at starting things, thinking they’d be great! I actually did eventually enjoy acting in a few plays and being in the chorus of a number of musicals, and loved being on stage, and I still enjoy speaking in public (unlike 99% of the population)!
So, I enjoyed drama club, and I went to all the practices (not that I had a big part or anything). But, right before the dress rehearsal, I “got sick.” I’m sure I actually did feel sick to my stomach! But, not from illness–from nerves! Stage fright, pure and simple. My mom let me stay home. I didn’t perform in the play that I had practiced for weeks to be in. And, I let the other drama-club members down.
This is an example of a situation where a parent should make a child keep his word no matter what. Unless there’s blood, or they’re actually in the hospital, they should show up, and fulfill their responsibilties.
“Don’t let your kids off the hook just because they’re scared, but be sensitive and don’t force them to do things when they’re terrified. Pray to God for wisdom about this.”Wendy Gunn
Fear is Not Just Your Children’s Problem
Last fall I joined an online group led by Ruth Soukup, called Do It Scared. This group supports women (and some men) to accomplish their goals, objectives, and dreams, even though they’re scared. The group has been awesome and so helpful for me. Do It Scared! Do it anyway!!! Yes, you may be scared to death! So what?! Don’t let fear stop you! We have learned what our “fear archetype” is, and mine is perfectionist/procrastinator. This is so true of me.
Because my siblings were older by 5-1/2 years or more, according to Dr. Kevin Leman’s, “The Birth Order Book,” I was like an oldest child, or even an only child, rather than a youngest child, and even more so in all the qualities of those birth orders. I want to please authorities. I want to do it perfectly from the first. Nothing should be hard, or have to be worked at.
And, I was so fearful of failing that I would give up. Or I’d put it off until the last minute, and then it wouldn’t be done well, or it would be late. And, even as an adult, I would prepare and plan for something and never actually do it, because I wanted it to be perfect. I’ve grown a lot, changed a lot, and almost conquered that, I think? 🙂 As parents, it is our responsibility to train our children to be strong, and not let fear stop them. Teach, train, and be an example of Doing it Scared, as Ruth says.
Raise Your Kids to be Strong and do the Right Thing
Another example to illustrate from my life that comes to mind is from this same time period. I participated in something that was pretty common at that time: a 24-mile (if I remember correctly?) walk (or run) for a cause. I walked. But, I finished! I think, again, that I was a sophomore? Around 15 years old. Yes, that age.
I kept on beginning strong, doing it right in the beginning, and then failing to follow through! Do you have a child like this? You need to train them to–make them, no excuses–follow through and do what they said they would do!!! They must keep their word. They must act responsibly and do the right thing!
The next day after the walk, a Monday, I could barely get out of bed, I was so sore! No big surprise there. I’m sure most people would be, who haven’t trained. But, I didn’t realize this fact in my immaturity. Also, I was not accustomed to having to do anything when I didn’t feel well. I was babied when anything was wrong with me. So, my mom was concerned and let me stay home from school.
Later in life I realized that I missed the glory! My sore muscles were something to be proud of, and I had finished the whole 24 (or was it 32?) miles, which not everyone did! But, instead of getting the glory for having finished the course, I stayed home, and then after staying home one day, I felt so sheepish, that I stayed home the whole week! And, my mom let me.
I can’t figure out what my dad was doing, because he was not a softie. And, my mom was not the one who ran the family! My dad must’ve let her decide because of her own emotions, and all she’d been through in her life. That’s all I can figure out.
Are you Training Your Kids to be Strong or Training Irresponsibility and Weakness
Are you training your children in irresponsibility? My parents had 2 of the 3 legs of the 3-legged stool of good parenting: their example was good–they modeled responsibility–and I’m sure they prayed. But, their training or teaching fell a bit short at times. Again, I give them a lot of grace, because it couldn’t have been an easy job raising me, especially with all they were going through.
You don’t have to be harsh to make your kids do what will make them strong and resilient. You don’t have to get angry, or yell. You just have to stand your ground and be consistent. And know your why. For me, now, the why is Christ, and the Word of God.
I learned to keep my word after High School. I learned responsibility and to be someone you can trust in and rely on. When I became a Christian. Then, God began convicting me of sin. And, I changed my habits, but it still took years for me to totally change. Are the kids Christians who you are trying to raise to be strong and resilient? This is a really important point!
Are Your Children Strong Heathens or Strong Christians?
Whether they’re Christians doesn’t mean they have an excuse not to be responsible or strong. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to or can’t keep their word if they are not Christians, but it does mean they don’t have the Holy Spirit inside to prompt them, convict them, and give them a desire to obey God’s Word, which tells them the right thing to do.
Adolescence in 30’s, Entitled Adults
When a child or person surrenders their life to Christ and allows Jesus Christ to be Savior and Lord of their life, the Holy Spirit comes into their life. They begin to learn and grow, to become strong in Godly character, grow in Christlikeness. As they grow up, and mature in Christ, they become more aware of their surroundings, sensitive to the needs of other people, not as self-centered, and humble.
“Yeah, you’re scared! But do it anyway!!”Betsy Tillman
They recognize their feelings and emotions, but don’t let them control them. They are Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled as they grow in Christ. They apply Scripture and obey God’s commands, some of which are “be anxious for nothing,” “be of good courage,” “wait on the Lord and He will strengthen thine heart.” They experience the love, joy, and peace that the Holy Spirit gives, if they are truly saved.
There is training in the home that is needed, though, too. If they have experienced coddling, babying, and being given their way, pacified by getting special treatment or perhaps candy or gifts to quiet them down, and make them “happy” again, it will work to destroy them.
Yeah, you’re scared, but do it anyway! You can do it!
We see 30-somethings today, (there seems to be an epidemic of them in the male population, especially) who never grew up. We see emotionally-manipulative women who expect that everyone around them will cater to them and are there to make them happy.
Don’t let your kids have an “entitled” attitude!
You’ve met them, see them daily online, and in the news. Those who believe themselves “entitled.” As parents, we must not train our children to think the world revolves around them! We must train them according to the Word of God. There is so much to say on this topic. Then you’ll have trained, or made it possible for God to train, them to be strong, resilient kids, who grow up to be strong, resilient adults.
7 Things Parents Should Teach to Have Strong Kids With Resilience
- Honor their father and mother
- Obey their father and mother and the Scriptures
- Work hard
- Be thankful and express gratitude
- Learn and practice good manners and be polite
- Think of others before yourself (“look not only to your own things, but also to the things of others”)
- Put on humility, Colossians 3
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