Hi and welcome to my first blog!
As a parent of 3 now adult children and someone who is working with kids, I spend a great deal of time reading and seeing all sorts of references regarding raising happy, emotionally intelligent and resilient children. Wow! There is so much pressure to get it all just right. Yes, I suppose there always has been pressure, but it just seems to be everywhere now with the internet, social media etc. and on so many peoples lips. All that conflicting parenting advice for you Mums and Dads must be making your heads spin!
When I was parenting, the big debate was stay at home Mum versus working Mum and the effects on the children. I consider myself one of the lucky ones who was a stay at home Mum for 11 years. I just assumed that everything would work out ok with my kids as I was around so just figured I would catch things as they unfolded. Even though I was around the kids full-time things got missed along the way. I remember wishing for that “instruction book on kids” plenty of times and wondering if what I was doing was ok. Some of my friends were working Mums and struggled with juggling it all and the “mother guilt” of not being around “enough”.
Fast forward 20+ years and our world has exploded (technologically and financially speaking) and the majority of Mums have to work in order for the family to afford housing, eating, schooling and child care.
Life for the average family appears to be so incredibly busy nowadays. If Mum and Dad are both working then when and how does the family unit make time to connect, relax and have fun together? What an incredible juggling act this must be for parents.
We have learnt that children, especially in the early years, need certain things from their families and other people surrounding them, in order to grow up to be happy, emotionally intelligent and resilient.
OK, so what do I mean by happy, emotionally intelligent and resilient? And how do we foster that in our kids?
I think I can safely assume we all generally think that happy means a state of joy, contentment, bliss, delight and a sense of well-being, just to name a few.
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:
And resilience………I’d like to quote a fabulous lady named Maggie Dent to explain this one…..
Maggie Dent has become one of Australia’s favourite parenting authors and educators, with a particular interest in the early years, adolescence and resilience. She’s an author of 10 books and she can often be heard on commercial and ABC radio around the country including Nova 937. She also appears on national TV programs.
“In simple terms, it is our survivability and ‘bounce-back-ability’ to life experiences and that means both the really advantageous ones as well as the really challenging, traumatic ones.”
That sounds great doesn’t it? But, what do we have to do? Doesn’t it just “grow” naturally as they venture through life?
Because everyday family life is so very busy now, it has an impact on families, their relationships and young children in particular, aged 0 - 12 years.
Maggie goes on to say “Children still need the basics – plenty of loving interaction with significant people who care for them, enormous amounts of play and opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them. You don’t need a lot of money to raise children well – that is a myth.”
I’ve listed Maggie’s 10 Resilience Building Blocks below. I love these and wish somebody had broken it down for me ‘back in the day’.
10 Resilience Building Blocks for Children 0-12
Positive healthy pregnancy
Safe, nurturing care within the circle of family
Plenty of play
Build life skills
Meaningful involvement with positive adults
Absence of stress
Strengthen the spirit
– Maggie Dent 2006 ©
Follow my blog over the following weeks and i’ll pull apart each one, giving you ideas on how to implement these key building blocks. Even in the best of families many can get missed for any number of reasons.
The work I do can help fill in those gaps and help develop the resilience you would love to see in your children.
I love helping families feel happier! If you would like to chat about how I can help you, and you live in Melbourne, follow this link to my “Contact Me” page.
This piece is written with the intention of helping parents create happier and more resilient children and is subject to copyright. Please contact the author if you wish to publish elsewhere.