Raising Resilient Children

“Depression is now the single leading cause of disability globally” (World Health Organization). Susan David shares articulate insight in her excellent talk on Emotional Agility. How do we teach our kids that discomfort is okay? They need this resilience to live in a complicated world.

Lessons of Resilience from Childhood

—Lyle J. Burrup

When I was a child, many adults in my life—parents, neighbors, teachers, and Church leaders—taught me and my brother and sisters the following lessons. These five principles may be helpful for your children:

  1. Paying the price for privileges.I knew that freedom to play with my friends in the coming days depended on whether or not I came home on time.
  2. The law of the harvest.If I wanted money, I had to deliver the newspapers for my route and collect the money each month.
  3. Personal accountability and responsibility.I had to complete my own homework, science fair projects, and merit badges.
  4. The law of restitution.I could make up for misbehavior by apologizing and repairing the wrong. My parents sometimes suggested that I complete extra chores, such as pulling weeds.
  5. Learning from mistakes.If I made my bed poorly, did not wash the dishes properly, or did not pull weeds properly, I had to redo these tasks correctly.
Rough times will come. By dealing with failure and uncertainty in healthy ways, we develop toughness. No one is perfect. We must have resilience to try and try again.

You can do it. Our kids can do it.