3 Simple Steps to Building Resilience Using an Attitude of Gratitude

Written by: Jill M Hope

One of the greatest qualities you can nurture in your child is resilience. Resilient kids are less likely to suffer from depression, poor quality relationships, jobs that do not excite and stimulate them, and are more likely to achieve their greatest potential.

Children with a strong sense of resilience have several characteristics in common:
  • They tend to persist when things get difficult
  • They feel capable of tackling new challenges and don't shy away from something that seems like a stretch
  • They don't necessarily see problems as "bad", but as something they can overcome
  • The feel loved, valued, and accepted just as they are (not as they could be if they behaved)
  • They enjoy strong friendships and family connections
One of my favorite strategies to build resilience in kids is by encouraging an “attitude of gratitude”.  Why is a gratitude mindset an effective strategy for building resilience?
  • It allows children see the upside of a negative situation, which is an empowering perspective to hold
  • When you focus on what is going right, rather than what is not, you tend to bring into your experience more things that go right

So how can you foster an “attitude of gratitude” in your home and build up your child’s resilience?

Develop a daily gratitude practice

Recounting what is good in each day encourages the habit of looking for good, regardless of challenges. An effective way to help your kids count their blessings is to have them share 3 things from their day for which they are grateful. Get them a journal in which they can write or draw (they can even have fun decorating their journal!), or ask them to share their daily gratitude list at dinner or as part of their bedtime routine. When your kids develop the habit of looking for things to appreciate, they will eventually realize they have more to appreciate.
 
When your child is experiencing a challenge, help her see that it could be worse
 
A few years ago when my son was 5, he cut his chin deeply in a sledding accident and ended up in the emergency room. As we were driving to the hospital, he was crying and asking how could this happen to him and why. I told him I was grateful it was just his chin! He could have damaged an eye, cracked open his head, or worse. I calmly told him that his chin would be easy to fix, and asked him if he could see how lucky he was that it wasn’t worse. He instantly calmed down. This new view allowed him to take control of his feelings rather than feeling like a victim.
 
Help your child find the gift in the experience
 
Your child is not the only one affected by the situations which challenge him; you are too. Every challenge gives us an opportunity to grow. When you can look for the blessing in the challenge, you teach your child how to deal with crises in a positive way. When your child is young, it is enough to look for the blessing yourself, as she will sense your positive attitude. When your child is older, you can begin to explore with her what the blessing might be and help her find it. Finding the gift in our challenges takes the sting out and helps us feel strong and empowered in our lives. 
 
If you would like to discover 7 strategies to help your child build resilience and feel confident and ‘bully-proof’ in the face of challenges, then please join us for a free community workshop on Tuesday, January 22 at 6:30 pm at the Lincoln Belmont Library Community Room. Registration is required. To register for free, go to http://www.bullyproofstrategies.com. We hope to see you there!
Posted on January 13, 2013 at 7:09 PM