The common blunder parents make when teaching their children about resilience

We’ve all been on the receiving end of critical feedback at some stage in our lives. It never feels good to hear that something you’ve done has fallen short of expectations or not quite made the grade.

However, most of us are capable of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and moving on. We are able to accept responsibility for how our actions contributed to our success or failure, and we learn what we can do differently next time to achieve a better outcome.

It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that our young people are lacking the tools needed to do this. Their lack of resilience is having a severely negative impact on their emotional wellbeing, happiness and ability to succeed in life. Our children just aren’t equipped to deal with disappointment.

Even more worrying is the fact that the problem isn’t them, it’s us, their parents and educators. We don’t even realise the one common mistake that we’re all making: ‘overparenting’.

Calling in the experts

Recently, we invited Dr Judith Locke, an internationally acclaimed psychologist, former teacher and bestselling author, to Moriah Primary School for an essential parenting workshop and a professional development session for our teachers and staff members.

Dr Locke explained the concept of ‘overparenting’ and how it impacts upon our children.

Overparenting is when good parenting actions, such as praise or protection, are delivered at such a level that it actually stops your child developing essential skills.

Dr Locke highlighted the importance of equipping our children with some of these essential life skills:

  • Resilience: the ability to cope with and overcome disappointment
  • Self-regulaton: forgoing current pleasure for future gain
  • Resourcefulness: the ability to take the initiative to improve the situation

The toolbox of practical strategies delivered to our parent body through Dr Locke’s workshop left them feeling empowered and confident in being able to help their children develop and build upon the abovementioned skills. Our teachers also came away from their professional development session feeling much the same way.

For parents who could not attend the workshop, Dr Locke has written a piece for us on one aspect of the topics she discussed – praise. For parents who want to hear more, check out her bestselling book, The Bonsai Child.

Dr Locke’s was the first of our termly series of parent education sessions. It is representative of Moriah College positioning itself as a Centre of Influence which educates both its parent body and leaders and educators from the Association of Heads of Jewish Educational Institutions (HJEI) and other independent schools in the Eastern Suburbs.

Our next guest speaker, Dee O’Connor, is a neuropsychologist who will explain how the brains of young children develop and the implications of this for education and parenting. We are so looking forward to her presentation.

Working together as parents and educators, we are proud to be driving positive change throughout our school and the wider community. Encouraging students to purposefully develop the qualities of people who can self-assess academically, socio emotionally and spiritually, as menschen, is something we are truly passionate about, and will continue to do in every aspect of our teaching practice at Moriah.


About the author

Lynda Fisher is the Head of Primary School at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.

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