My youngest daughter is 4 years old and every day, she tells me that she loves me. As I’m leaving her Kindergarten class, she will often yell out, “I love you, Mum! Have a good day!” She melts my heart with those words and with the smile that she gives me at the same time. She is also very aware of her own emotions. She’ll tell me if she feels bored or lonely. She’ll explain exactly why she’s sad. She’ll remember the name of a person who she’s never spoken to. As much as this amazes me, it doesn’t surprise me. Until I gave birth to my third child, I didn’t realise how capable kids really are.
Building a child’s resilience
As parents, I believe our role is to prepare our children for adulthood. To equip them with the skills necessary to not only survive their adult years, but to live life confidently.
My three daughters are going to enter the work force one day. They’re going to encounter all types of people – some kind, and others who might be struggling with issues themselves. And I can’t shelter my kids from the prospect of that. They’re going to face many challenges and many people who test them. And the only true way to prepare them for that is to develop their resilience.
I don’t believe that every child needs to win a prize during pass-the-parcel. I don’t believe that a child needs a band aid every time they’ve had a fall. I don’t believe that we need to tell a child that they’re a ‘good boy/girl’ just to stop them from misbehaving.
I believe that kids are strong enough to handle these upsets. I believe that if we continue to shelter children from discomfort, how are they going to handle the much larger discomforts as an adult?
My two older children
My two older children are very sensitive children. They are incredibly empathetic, but at times, their emotions can get the best of them.
However, my eldest daughter received an honour certificate last week for making great gains with her resilience. Instead of telling her to just ‘get over it’, I’ve been her biggest encourager. I’ve been encouraging her to talk about her feelings and to work through her problems before getting upset. She no longer gets upset at the things she used to.
Even my middle daughter is no longer the anxious child she once was. She’s become more confident and can handle setbacks a lot better than before.
My approach has never been to shield them from negativity. My approach has never been to push their feelings aside either.
My approach has been believing that my children are capable.
My three girls make me so proud every day
My girls have their own strengths and they also have their weaknesses. They have their own talents and their own skills.
I don’t expect them to be perfect, nor do I want to be. I don’t care whether they become doctors or truck drivers later on in life.
What I do care about, however, is that they continue to try their best. That they never stop wanting to learn. That they are kind to others. That no matter how hard life gets, they have the courage to fight back.
I like to think that my three girls are happy and confident children because I helped to shape them to be that way.
I like to think that in believing in them, they have been able to believe in themselves too.
This article was written by Thuy Yau, who is a freelance writer and mother of three. She loves helping other mothers grow from their own experiences. She is also studying to become a Youth Worker. Find out more about her here and read her blog Inside a Mother’s Mind.