Last year I posted a very popular blog on how to foster resilience (R) in our children. I thought I would revisit the topic because so many of our parenting tools come back to this R; being able to bounce back, having the courage to try again, picking yourself up after failure, to keep trying and keep putting effort into things.

With schools being back, it is definitely time to check in, set some limits and boundaries and revisit many of the parenting tools. Bed times have become later, routine is long gone and it’s hard to get them back on track. Asides from your sanity, there are many other reasons why it is so important.

Limits, boundaries and consequences are all positive forms of discipline, which, when offered non-punitively, in the context of respect, are one of the highest forms of love. So what’s the link between boundaries, limits, consequences and resilience and what’s love got to do with it?

Parenting Tool Checklist:

  • “Connect, Connect and Connect, preserve the relationship” – Check
  • “Encourage, don’t praise” – Check
  • “Use Consequences” – Check
  • “Be Consistent, Kind and Firm” – Check
  • “Set Limits and Boundaries” – Check
  • “Treat your kids Respectfully” – Check
  • “Acknowledge, Accept and Validate their feelings” = Check
  • “Never do for a child what a child can do for themselves” – Check

We love our kids so much that all too often we end up doing far too much for them. Sometimes it is out of choice and don’t get me wrong, it is nice to do things for people we love, but we have to keep in mind, our motive. Often we are doing it because it is easier and quicker. Hard as it may seem, this is one of the most crippling things we can do for our kids. My kids often hear me saying “I’m not doing it for you because I love you. If I keep doing it all for you I am effectively preventing you from ever failing, falling and subsequently learning from the experience and getting better at things.”

It is so incredibly hard to do with consistency and as much as I say the above, I am a Mum and still wind up doing too much for them. But, giving your kids too much, caving in and saying yes when you know you shouldn’t, letting them rule the roost, regardless of age, robs them of the capacity to develop resilience.

How do we develop resilience?

To develop resilience we have to be given the opportunity to reach a point where we recognize the futility of a situation, where frustration reaches boiling point and we realize that:

“This is it, It won’t work, I can’t have it or I will have to do it.”

Reaching this point forces us to re-think:

“What can I do? What am I going to have to do? How can I possibly make this work?”

At this junction, we have to learn to adapt and move on or accept failure, learn from it and move on. Each time we face futility and adapt, we build a bit more resilience and become stronger. If we are denied the opportunity to reach this point, we do not get a chance to develop resilience.

Parenting patterns which prevent children from developing resilience

  • Being rescued too much
  • Being saved from failing
  • Being prevented / saved from making mistakes
  • Having too much done for them and not having to do enough for themselves
  • Having parents who are afraid of saying NO and upsetting their children
  • Having inconsistent or lack of boundaries and limits
  • Being over-indulged with praise
  • Being prevented / saved / excused from facing the consequences of their actions
  • The abundance, accessibility and pervasiveness of the internet. Children today live in an instant world, a world of instant gratification

Why is resilience so important?

Research has proven that having resilience will stand you in good stead in many areas of your life.

A study showed that academically high-achieving adults who tested high for resilience skills earned on average twice as much as those who were also high-achieving but scored low on resilience. Another study revealed that high resilient workers who had average grades tended to earn significantly more than their low resilient workmates who had earned high marks at school.

Besides income, those with high resilience have been proven to have better health and also be more successful in relationships.

It would seem that this R might be the most important R for our kids to be learning over the traditional ones: Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic. Let’s not deny them developing plenty of this R and make sure that we are parenting for this.

Partnering you


PS. Stay tuned, next week I am going to be asking you for your help!