5 Ways To Be A More Resilient Parent
As a parent, challenges are part of your life. But, sometimes, problems can overwhelm you and make you snap. Develop resilience to cope with such tough times and bounce back stronger.
By Ashwin Lobo
Although we try our best to ensure that we face problems in life with composure, it's a wish that never comes true, despite our best efforts.
Therefore, we need to learn how to make lemonade when life gives us lemons. In other words, face challenges with courage, never give up, remain optimistic and adapt to every situation. Psychologists have labelled the quality that helps us do all the above as 'resilience'.
While some individuals are born with the natural ability to handle distress and stress in a better way, others can learn to develop resilience over time. Being a resilient parent can affect your and your child's life in many positive ways.
Arundhati Swamy says, "When parents are resilient, the benefits are two-fold. First, resilient parents use their emotional strength to cope effectively not just with the pressures of routine tasks within the family, but also with the stresses of an unexpected setback or crisis. Resilience insulates them from snarky comments and destructive criticism, which could otherwise undermine their confidence as parents. Second, their children observe and absorb from them the essence of resilience — emotional control, grit, hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity. They are able to apply these strengths to their school work and other activities, setting themselves on the path to success."
With this being such an important quality for a parent to have, here are some simple tips that can help you develop resilience:
- Simplify your life: Trying to live a simple life can mean different things to different individuals. However, what we are focusing on here is to not take too much on your plate. You can simplify your life by: ranking tasks according to importance and doing only what you need to, analysing how much you value a cause before committing to it and saying no to what isn't necessary or important. Another important aspect is to disconnect from the digital world, every day. By decluttering your life, you'll have better control over it.
- Build a strong social network: Nothing can more aptly describe human nature as the words of Greek philosopher Aristotle, 'Man is a social animal'. We have a strong desire to connect with fellow humans and build a network of friends and well-wishers. Connecting with others helps us thrive. A robust social network provides us with a support system which we can rely upon during good times and bad. Knowing this helps us feel reassured and strong. So, meet new people and make friends, join interest groups, and stay in touch with all those who matter to you.
- Think before you act: Every action we indulge in has a consequence. An understanding of this fact goes a long way in helping us stop and think before we act. So, when your child's screaming and tantrums provoke you to act in anger, stop for a moment to think if that's the right thing to do or the solution to the problem. Instead of giving in to the impulse, use calming techniques to calm down and get a grip on your feelings. Engaging regularly in meditation can also help you check your impulses and act in a controlled manner.
- Be mindful: A mindful individual is aware of what he does, what is going on around him and how it affects his thoughts and feelings. Such an individual thinks about the situation, in an detached and non-judgmental manner. This makes him adopt a solution-focused approach, rather than acting hastily, as doing so may produce undesirable consequences. Also, research has shown that mindfulness fosters resilience.
- Stay healthy: Good health can make you feel confident of overcoming any challenges that come your way. Staying healthy boosts self-esteem and decreases anxiety and stress levels. So, engage in some physical activity like yoga or swimming or running, and pay attention to your diet, lifestyle and habits.
Resilience is like a muscle. The more you test it, the better you become at bouncing back. So, the next your little one fails in an exam, refuses to eat his dinner, throws a tantrum or makes a mess, take control of the situation. Choose to handle it calmly, with resilience.
Arundhati Swamy is a counsellor and the Head of Parent Engagement Programmes at ParentCircle.
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