With the ever-shifting demands of parenting during the pandemic, parents find it challenging to balance their professional lives and support their children at home. This period has also presented an opportunity for parents and children to build resilience — the ability to weather stressful situations.
During the first session of our Parenting courses, we usually ask our parents what attributes they want their kids to have by the time they are adults. Parents say they want their kids to be independent, self-sufficient, emotionally self-regulated, close to family, happy, successful adults, etc. Most of these traits can be captured into what we are currently talking about — resilience.
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg from the University of Pennsylvania came up with a practical framework to better understand resilience in children. It is called 7 C’s Model of Resilience:
1. Competence – developing mastery based on their age 2. Confidence – feeling hope, empowerment and optimism 3. Connected to People – starts with the parent-child relationship 4. Character – parents have a big part in developing character; through value formation and moral compass 5. Contribution – refers to mattering; that their action makes a difference (service to others, household chores), their suggestions and ideas are respected in decision making 6. Cope – finding healthy ways to adapt to challenges than quick fixes that may bring them harm 7. Control – predictable and safe environment to grow
Looking at the 7 C’s, it will be challenging to expect the schools to be the only place where kids will learn resilience. The task is so comprehensive that parents need to play a big part in developing this in children. It requires closer partnership and alignment between schools and parents.
In Gordon Parenting, we recognize this role of the parents. In our workshops we help parents develop skills and principles so kids will have a rich and supportive family environment conducive to developing resilience. The primary focus of PET is in establishing and strengthening the Connection.
Parents need to be seen as partners by schools when it comes to developing resilience. If you have experienced raising a child from infancy to young adulthood, you will realize that the biggest risk in their life, the areas where they are at risk to fail, are not related to Math, Science or Chinese lessons. It is not about forgetting mathematical formulas, chemical compositions or specific characters. It is about their big issues that revolve around friendships, relationships, life decisions and choices, controlling emotions, taking responsibility — all related to resilience. These are things where parents can really make a big difference in developing their children. Emotional resilience is not an inherent personality trait that only some possess. On the contrary, it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop through practice and intentionality.