Dave Verhaagen, Ph.D., author and founding partner of Southeast Psych in Nashville and Charlotte, NC, spoke to parents and faculty February 27 about “Raising Resilient Kids.” Although the internet-fueled, 24-hour news cycle feeds the perception that the world today is more dangerous than in times past, Verhaagen provided evidence that the opposite is true.
The anxiety that accompanies this mistaken perception causes parents to overprotect their children. The key to raising resilient children is to let them fail when they are young, he said, so they learn natural consequences, skills for later life, and ultimately, resiliency. Healthy kids are growth-minded, other-centered, adventurous, strength-focused, and able to delay gratification. To foster these traits, he provided seven tactics parents can practice:
Don’t be a fearful parent.
Give kids room to safely fail.
Praise effort rather than traits. (Rather than “You’re so smart” say “You really worked hard.”)
Create opportunities to provide service to others.
Encourage and reward healthy risk taking (trying a new activity or asking a girl to a dance).
Teach delay of gratification.
Play to their strengths.
For more resources, visit the Southeast Psych website, psychbytes.com.