Competence describes the feeling of knowing that you can handle a situation effectively. We can help the development of competence by:
Helping children focus on individual strengths.
Focusing any identified mistakes on specific incidents.
Being careful that your desire to protect your child doesn’t mistakenly send a message that you don’t think he or she is competent to handle things.
Clearly expressing the best qualities, such as fairness, integrity, persistence, and kindness
Praising honestly about specific achievements; not diffusing praise that may lack authenticity
Developing close ties to family and community creates a solid sense of security that helps lead to strong values and prevents alternative destructive paths to love and attention. You can help your child connect with others by:
Building a sense of physical safety and emotional security within your home.
Allowing the expression of all emotions, so that kids will feel comfortable reaching out during difficult times.
Creating a common area where the family can share time.
Fostering healthy relationships that will reinforce positive messages
Children need to develop a solid set of morals and values to determine right from wrong and to demonstrate a caring attitude.
To strengthen your child’s character, start by:
Helping your child recognize himself or herself as a caring person.
Demonstrating the importance of community.
Encouraging the development of spirituality.
Avoiding racist or hateful statements or stereotypes.
Children need to realize that the world is a better place because they are in it. Understanding the importance of personal contribution can serve as a source of purpose and motivation.
Teach your children how to contribute by:
Communicating to children that many people in the world do not have what they need.
Modeling positive coping strategies on a consistent basis.
Realizing that telling him or her to stop the negative behavior will not be effective.
Understanding that many risky behaviors are attempts to alleviate the stress and pain in kids’ daily lives.
Not condemning your child for negative behaviors and, potentially, increasing his or her sense of shame.
Children who realize that they can control the outcomes of their decisions are more likely to realize that they have the ability to bounce back. Your child’s understanding that he or she can make a difference further promotes competence and confidence.
Help your child to understand that life’s events are not purely random and that many things that happen are the result of an individual’s choices and actions.
Discipline is about teaching, not punishing or controlling; using discipline to help your child to understand that his actions produce certain consequences.
Children need to know that there is an adult in their life who believes in them and loves them unconditionally.
There is no simple answer to guarantee resilience in every situation. But we can challenge ourselves to help our children develop the ability to negotiate their own challenges and to be more resilient, more capable, and happier.
1/30/12 HealthyChildren.org – Building Resilience in Children