5 Hardships that make kids stronger, self-sufficient people
"Sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to allow them to struggle." See which adversities this psychologist believes kids should face to grow up strong!
Parents are naturally inclined to be protective of their children. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your kids safe from harm, but are there some situations in which parents can get a little too overprotective? At least that’s what researcher, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D, believes so.
She asserts that when parents “rush to rescue children from problems that they could solve on their own, we prevent them from learning how to cope.”
“Sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is to allow them to struggle,” she adds. In other words, it’s important that we allow them to pick themselves up and get back on the metaphorical horse. In doing this, we allow our kids to naturally develop important life skills, while also putting faith in their own ability to grow and learn through adversity and failure.
Dr. Kennedy-Moore firmly believes that for kids to grow up strong, self-sufficient individuals, they need to go toe to toe with certain adversities in life. Here are the 5 she recommends letting your kids conquer all by themselves so they can grow up to be strong individuals:
In a generation where pretty much all of the information in the world can be accessed by simply reaching in your pocket and turning on your phone, it’s easy to understand why kids think they are “bored”. However, there are more outlets for entertainment than you could ever fathom in today’s world, so for kids to think they are bored is a bit of a stretch. Don’t cater to their need to feel entertained. Let them fight through this “boredom” and find ways to stimulate themselves.
“If you just wait, your child will eventually figure out something to do,” says Dr. Kennedy-Moore.
Choices, choices, choices. So many choices to make–even for kids. While their decisions aren’t typically as crucial as an adult’s, the fact remains that choosing one thing means giving up another. That very concept can be quite disconcerting for a child, but it helps them understand the concept of weighing options. More importantly, as Dr. Kennedy-Moore suggests, “if they make a ‘wrong’ choice, they can learn to tolerate disappointment and resolve to make a different choice next time”.
“[W]inning and losing are temporary states. If we protect our children from losing, they may think that losing is unbearable and that cheating and being a poor sport are reasonable options,” says Dr. Kennedy-Moore. It is important that kids get a taste of the bitter taste of failure (only for them to learn how to bounce back from it). Realistically speaking, they won’t win or succeed at everything they do, but if they lose and deal with failure from time to time, they’ll at least have grown and learnt from experiences.
“When we let our kids lose, we give them the chance to learn that they can handle setbacks and try again.”
Ideally, you want your children to excel in school; however, the occasional woe can be a beneficial adversity for your kids. “Occasionally missing a homework assignment or forgetting to study for a test can be a learning opportunity,” says Kennedy-Moore. “Kids can see that the world doesn’t end if their work is sometimes less than perfect, and they can make plans to prevent mistakes in the future.”
Help them to understand that they can recover from a missed assignment, poor test score, or bad grade. All it takes is hard work and dedication.
When it comes to young children, fights between friends can seem a little more devastating. That’s because kids lack the maturity to “forgive and forget” and cope with their own emotions. But as they grow older, they learn how to develop this maturity and soon be able to resolve disagreements through persuasion, compromise (or even throwing in the towel), etc.
But the most important thing they have to do in order to gain that insight and life skill, is to face adversities head on.