Sunday, October 23, 2011

Developing Coping Skills in Kids

One reason I write a lot about the need to help kids develop coping skills is that I have several who are less than naturally able in that department. I have a few who are anxious, some who are inflexible, one who panics,  and several hard-wired pessimists with automatically veer into downward-spiralling thought patterns. Challenging that negativity is... work.

When I find myself inwardly grumbling about how exhausting that is, I do a little mental drill:

                     WORK... JOB... WORK... JOB

Duh -- the two are related! It's my job to parent my kids. Sometimes it's work. Sometimes it's a lot of work. Enough already -- onward.

*       *       *       *       *

I've been thinking more about that talk on characteristics of successful employees, and the importance of letting kids fall. Why is it so hard for us to let them do that?

It could be that we're too tied up in ourselves: if my kid falls, I'm a failure.

It could be that we're too focused on what our children will think of us: if my kid falls, he'll think I wasn't there for him.

Or there's this: not everyone who goes into a sink-or-swim situation ends up on the surface. Some kids sink. Will mine?

And yet... there's a huge difference between being a mama whale nudging my calf to the surface so he can breathe while he's learning to swim and being a child's full-time personal flotation device so he never has to learn to swim.

There are many steps between providing too much support and none at all. It's helpful to remember that.

1 comment:

  1. Yes to all of that.

    Of course, another thing that makes parenting difficult is that every kid is different so what worked for one kid doesn't always work for the next kid.