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Children problem-solving Resilience

Teaching Our Kids Resilience: The Difference Between Being Good vs. Getting Better

Sometimes you hear about resilient kids who take on difficult tasks and don’t give up until they’ve accomplished what they set out to do. Other kids give up and throw tantrums at the simplest of things. While age is a factor, there comes a time when kids need to hold their own. But what makes some children keep going and others give up?

It’s resilience. The kids that face difficult tasks and come out successful are problem solvers. They face tough situations head-on and figure out the best solution. Despite what you may think, it’s not all about intelligence. According to Psychology Today, one’s IQ says nothing about how we face difficulties in our lives.

So, if you’re sitting there thinking, “I wish my kids were resilient!” the good news is, resilience can be taught. You would actually be doing them a favor: teaching children to problem solve in a healthy way from a young age can go a long way. It’s an important life skill, after all. Plus. It will make everyone’s lives easier.

Teaching Our Kids Resilience

The goal here is to get our kids to strive to be better, rather than be good. What’s the difference? Being good at something only shows how smart you are, whereas getting better is about developing your skills. According to Psychology Today, kids who strive to get better are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than the kids who simply aim for being good. They are more likely to see a bad grade as motivation to try harder, rather than resign to the fact that they are “not good at” a particular subject.

So, how can we teach our kids this all-important life skill? These tips will get you started:

1. Talk About Challenges Before they Happen

We may not be able to predict every single trial our children will face, but there are a few we can prepare them for. Perhaps your child is moving to a new school; be sure to explain to them that it’s an opportunity for them to build a new skill, like making new friends. Avoid saying things like, “I’m sure everyone will love you.” Although you mean well, statements like that can be misleading.

2. Don’t Give in to Everything

As moms, we can be overprotective at times (okay, all the time!); but by doing so, we aren’t giving our kids a chance to develop their problem-solving abilities. Giving guidance is great, but sometimes we have to let them face relatively tough situations on their own—and this applies to children of all ages. Mommy won’t always be there to solve all their problems.

If a kid is trying to take a toy away from your child in the sandbox, wait a minute before intervening and see how they handle it on their own.

3. Encourage Age-Appropriate Risk

Wait, what? I’m not denying that part of our job as parents is to keep our children safe; but some measured risk can be a good thing. Age-appropriate risks help teach our kids life skills and allow them to discover their limits. Children can then apply what they learn as they grow older.

4. Giving Feedback

The whole point is for your child to learn, and constructive feedback is always a good thing. Focus on how they can improve, but make sure not to compare them to anyone else. They should strive to do better than they did the previous time—to compete against themselves, rather than competing against others.

For example, if your son didn’t do well on a test, shift his focus to what he can do to improve his own grade, rather than what he can do to be the best in the entire class. If he got a ‘C’ on the last test, a realistic goal would be to shoot for a ‘B’ on the next one, instead of pressuring him to get an ‘A+’ and outperform all of his classmates.

Your feedback should emphasize that your child has the ability to change. You might explain to your child that, in order to improve at their chosen discipline, they could practice harder and more often.

Give suggestions, but don’t provide all the answers. Ask questions that will challenge them to think for themselves, and make sure to be encouraging and positive.

It All Comes Down to Balance

For parents, the question becomes to what extent you should let them discover things on their own rather than giving instruction.

Think “guided tough love.”

Start with letting go of the little things and gradually build from there. You can even give examples from your own life. Perhaps you weren’t good at swimming, but with hard work and practice you became better at it—and eventually joined the water polo team. Examples of when you gave up before you should have are also great.

We can all agree that resilience is a skill that helps carry us through our not-so-perfect lives. The sooner you start teaching your kids, the better their problem-solving skills will become as they get older.

problem-solving Teamwork Work

Putting the “We” in Team: The Value of Teamwork

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is in the team.” – Phil Jackson

You’ve heard it before, no (wo)man is an island. From the workplace to life in general, the truth is that if you have an “only I can fix it” attitude, you’re just making life more difficult for yourself.

When it comes to solving life’s problems, we as moms may sometimes (ok, most of the time) feel like we can solve everything, but we can solve our problems more quickly and with less stress when we accept others’ help. As hard as it may be to give up total control, you and everyone else around you will be better off if you work as a team.

So, if you have a partner (in business or in life), then you have someone on your team. While building a team may be easy, maintaining it is a whole other story. Here are some skills that are key to putting the “we” in team.

The 3 Cs: Skills for Successful Teamwork

1. Communication

Since you’ll be working together—at work, in business, or in your household—effective communication is the most important skill to master for successful teamwork. Listening to each other helps show support and lets everyone know what page you’re on (hopefully the same one!).

For example, if your husband has an important meeting the following morning, pay attention to his request for help and come up with a solution together. You may have to drop the kids off in the morning, but perhaps your partner can pick them up in the afternoon. If one team member doesn’t listen to the other, there will likely be serious miscommunication, which can lead to unintended mistakes (like leaving the kids stranded at school!).

How you communicate matters just as much. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, how we communicate is the most important factor in determining team success. So, be aware not just of the words you’re using, but also of your body language and the tone of your speech when you’re communicating.

2. Compromise

As long as more than one person is involved in problem-solving, there are bound to be a few conflicts along the way. Compromise in most situations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a necessity—it demonstrates that you’re putting the good of the team ahead of your own wants. So, how do you compromise?

Start by understanding what the other person is trying to say. Put yourself in their shoes and make an effort to understand their point of view. Oftentimes we are simply listening to answer—impatient to get our point across—rather than listening to understand.

For example, when hunting for a new office location, your business partner may want to stay closer to the highway because it’s more convenient for her drive from home; in contrast, you may want your office to be located in the heart of downtown because it’s closer to the business district and better for client meetings. Although there are obvious benefits to both locations, the compromise here could be to choose an office location somewhere that’s not too far of a drive from each of your homes but remains convenient for most of your clients.

3. Cooperation

Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a team at work and there’s that one person who doesn’t pull their weight? Don’t be that person—even with your spouse at home! Actively participate in decision-making and performing tasks, even if it’s just deciding who will take out the trash or run to pick-up the pizza for dinner (yes, we all occasionally revert to pizza night when life is hectic!). This makes you a more valuable team member and earns your partner’s respect.

Even when you’re super busy with work, don’t use it as an excuse to completely tune out at home. Letting your spouse do all the “heavy lifting” at home will only result in resentment, and we all know it’s pretty much downhill from there!

Cooperation may also mean taking turns. For example, you may decide to work full-time while your significant other pursues their education, and then switch when it’s your turn. This way, everyone feels respected.

The Value of Teamwork: Succeed Together

Teamwork is about problem-solving together for the benefit of the team. No one has to lose in order for each individual to win. So, rather than shutting out or excluding other people’s ideas or opinions, be open to other ways of doing things. Try to think positive: Being part of a team means more great ideas, which equal more solutions!

With these 3 skills, you and your team will be well on your way to success together—whatever that looks like for you.