In life, much of our stress can come from attempting to parent children who are responsible, successful, and happy. The stress and worry never helps; in fact, all it does is cause damage to our own mental emotional health and those around us. Our role as a parent has to include helping our children develop skills that allow them to be resilient if they are going to successfully deal with the stress of modern life.
In reviewing three separate studies on resilience—which is the ability to bounce back quickly after illness, change, or misfortune—there are a few common themes.
In one study, highly resilient nurses identiﬁed spirituality, a supportive social network, optimism, and having a resilient role model as essential to cope with stress in their work environment. In another study, resilient workers relied on positive emotions, cognitive ﬂexibility, social support, life meaning, and active coping. And in the last study, workers relied on self-esteem, sense of control, purpose in life, and interpersonal relations.
Having some form of social support was the most common in all three groups. Optimism or a positive mindset was the next most important protective factor. But don’t underestimate the one you have the most control over, and that is being a resilient role model.
As parents, we want to protect our children. But sometimes you just have to get a grip and let the child experience life so they can learn. Bethany was really worried about her teenage son until one day a dear friend asked her how she knew her needs were all taken care of. She replied, “Through my connection with God.” Her friend wisely asked, “What makes you think your connection to God is any less powerful than his?” In that moment, Bethany realized that not only could she trust God to watch over her son but that she had been role modeling that behavior for her son in living her own life. She was able to relax and let go of the stress. The circumstance that created the stress did not change; only the perspective through which the experience was looked at changed. Sometimes it takes an external person to help us reframe our circumstance, and sometimes we need to ask ourselves if there is a more empowering way to look at this.
The moments where we can talk to our children grow fewer and fewer as they get older. However, there will be moments where an example of some life lesson sits right in front of you and your child. In that teachable moment is the time to tell them, “In life, not everything is learned in textbooks. Sometimes you have to live life and learn through your experience.” Teach them to draw on the resources that make them resilient.
Tony Robbins says, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.” Teach your children to be resilient so they can enjoy a better quality life.
Author: Debra Kahnen, RN, ND, is the CEO of Life Mastery LLC. With over three decades of healthcare experience—as both a nursing leader in the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas and as a naturopath focusing on wellness—her view is radically different. Debra is a renowned expert in stress management and wellness. She helps people improve their health and emotional well-being to allow for more peace, joy, and personal satisfaction. Get a free special short video eCourse, "Take back control of your life NOW!”, so you can experience more balance and ease in your life.