What if you decided to live this year differently?
Less reactive energy.
Imagine how your personal life, professional career, and family would change.
When we’re busy, rushed, stressed, and overwhelmed, WHO we want to BE becomes the afterthought or byproduct of a hurried and frazzled life that is so focused on WHAT we need to DO.
As we welcome a new year, we invite you to consider how you’ve been living and what you’ve been producing. Are you proud of your life now? Or do you need to make some changes to live with more Arete?
Join us this month as we share how to develop more resilience in yourself and your children so you can start the year off stronger and more equipped for whatever is ahead!
Time For Change
Through our work with families and professional clients over the last decade, we noticed a core quality that tends to makes the biggest difference in how individuals chose to live and respond to challenges as they arise, and we’re calling it “emotional endurance.”
Emotional Endurance is the dynamic capacity you develop to deal with life’s stresses and challenges with an attitude of possibility and resilience.
Emotional Endurance Includes:
- Feeling a sense of control and optimism
- Having a high threshold to handle change and the unknown
- Demonstrating personal resolve and resiliency in the face of setbacks
- Managing your energy effectively so you don’t burn out or feel overloaded
- Maintaining a high level of personal integrity
When you experience some not-so-fun circumstances in life, you are met with a choice: React and retaliate or intentionally respond. Practicing and developing emotional endurance in times of stress and setback allow you to build more resilience over your lifetime, starting with how we model this for our young children.
When I asked Behavior Analyst, Joel Bosserman, M.A., BCBA, about developing resilience in children, here’s what he shared: “We all have a certain amount of inborn tendencies and traits. The situations we experience in life teach us how to act and react and we either build or break habits as a result. Every difficult circumstance has both an emotional and behavioral component. Experiences that challenge our comfort zone, without breaking us, build our internal capacities for facing even harder situations in the future. Through discrete exposure to challenge with supportive recovery, we can develop resilience throughout our lives.”
BOTTOM LINE: Your emotions turn into thoughts that influence your actions, forming behavioral patterns that become habits and ultimately shape your character.
Developing resilience starts with children’s earliest interactions with their own parents. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard, shares that “resilience depends on supportive, responsive relationships and mastering a set of capabilities that can help us respond and adapt to adversity in healthy ways.” Shinkoff chaired a multidisciplinary collaboration called the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child that looked at how children develop resilience over their early years and here’s what they found:
- Resilience is born from the interplay between internal disposition and external experience. It derives from supportive relationships, adaptive capacities, and positive experiences.
- We can see and measure resilience in terms of how kids’ brains, immune systems, and genes all respond to stressful experiences.
- There is a common set of characteristics that predispose children to positive outcomes in the face of adversity:
- The availability of at least one stable, caring, and supportive relationship between a child and an adult caregiver.
- A sense of mastery over life circumstances.
- Strong executive function and self-regulation skills.
- The supportive context of affirming faith or cultural traditions.
- Learning to cope with manageable threats to our physical and social well-being is critical for the development of resilience.
- Some children demonstrate greater sensitivity to both negative and positive experiences.
- Resilience can be situation-specific.
- Positive and negative experiences over time continue to influence a child’s mental and physical development. Resilience can be built; it’s not an innate trait or a resource that can be used up.
- People’s response to stressful experiences varies dramatically, but extreme adversity nearly always generates serious problems that require treatment.
Raising Resilient Children
As parents, caregivers, leaders, and engaged citizens, how can we develop resilience, starting with our children? As we’ve owned and operated our Mini Makers™ Preschool through a Pandemic, our interdisciplinary team at The Makers Place™ has played a vital role in supporting parents and their children by providing a safe, stable, and secure learning environment. From our experience, here are our top five recommendations for developing resilience in children.
Five Strategies for Raising Resilient Children
- Allow your child to try something before you step in to do it for them.
Examples: Feeding themselves, putting on their socks and shoes, opening the plastic around those tiny juice box straws and putting it in the juice box
2. Offer support and encouragement when something doesn’t go as planned
Examples: When your favorite toy is being used by another child at school, when a friend gets sick and cannot come over to play, when it’s too rainy or cold to play outside
3. Intentionally expose your children to safe challenges without instilling the fear of failure or punishment
Examples: Going down the playground slide alone, writing their name on a paper as they learn their letters, learning how to build new friendship at school
4. Affirm positive capacities you see your children already practicing, while providing scaffolding opportunities to expand their skills
Examples: Praising your child for sharing their trains with a friend and encouraging him to let his friend play with his favorite train next time
5. Model positive behavior and emotional response when YOU experience a setback or don’t get your desired outcome (remember, you are their best and most consistent example of resilience!)
Examples: When you’re stuck in traffic and late, when your spouse/partner forgets to do the laundry and there are no clean underwear, when you’re stressed and rushing
REMEMBER: Your emotions turn into thoughts that influence your actions, forming behavioral patterns that become habits and ultimately shape your character.
New Year Reflection
How do you feel going into the new year?
You may have sat down and made a list of resolutions, set some powerful intentions, or decided on your “Word of The Year.”
Or maybe you’re just hoping that the upcoming year is easier with less stress and struggle so you can move beyond feeling like you’re just getting though the day.
Wherever you are now, we invite you to take a moment to name how you’re feeling and consider WHO you have become in the last year. How has 2021 shaped you?
Now, shift your focus to who you want to be and how you want to feel a year from now as you end 2022. Consider what will make the biggest difference if you started today.
Imagine what it would be like if your life was full of energy, motivation, ease, and flow.
What would be possible then?
Choose to live the next year differently. Embrace resilience, instead of reacting to circumstances that don’t go your way. Model this for your children, family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. Be the change that you wish to see and share it with others.