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Can Parents Teach Resilience to Their Young Children?

Can Parents Teach Resilience to Their Young Children?


Today’s children are often considered to be more pampered than in the past. Schools encourage teachers to make every child feel successful. Gold stars all the way around. Encouragement is great, but not every student can be an honors student. Not everyone gets a part in the school play or makes the sports team. Children need to learn that life will have disappointments, but you can move past those little losses and even the big ones. It requires resilience and grit to work harder for the A in math, the position on the team, the first chair in the orchestra.

The world is moving fast. Technology, medicine, so many factors are making life easier for all of us, our kids included. There are tons of new methods for learning self-awareness, mindfulness, and self-care that are being introduced in schools and in the home. Yet, today’s children seem to have less and less tolerance for basic life issues and are more and more negative, often suffering anxiety and depression. Teen suicide rates are continually on the rise. It seems with all this positive reinforcement our culture is somehow discouraging resilience.

The world has gotten smaller in a sense. Social media and the news show us all the terrible things that are happening making the world seem scary and daunting. This overload of negativity is creating the false belief inside children that the world is evil. Over time, their young, formidable minds are being wired towards negativity and hopelessness, victimhood.

Today’s children, and even adults, are told that if something does not feel comfortable or nice, it must be bad. We are supposed to constantly be happy, and our lives should be always perfect. This sets unrealistic expectations for children. When the slightest thing doesn’t go their way, they are confused and have difficulty coping.

We give too much power to feelings of:

  • Loneliness
  • Rejection
  • Insecurity
  • Sadness and Pain

These ideas lead to people who grow up unable to experience and survive any kind of hardship, tragedy, or pain without anxiety and stress. It lends to the belief that we are powerless; we grow a victim mentality and develop a mental file full of excuses. 

We need to learn that our feelings derive from our thoughts. If we can learn to control our thoughts, choose our thoughts, and become the master of our thoughts, we will no longer experience those feelings. We will become powerful over the only thing in life we can control, our thoughts, and our feelings.

Young people need to learn to believe in themselves, in their innate ability to weather the storms life brings with their own natural resilience. Human beings have a certain amount of resilience built into their DNA. We have the fight or flight instincts we were born with and also the will to live and survive in nearly all of us. Young people need to learn that failures are opportunities to learn and grow, and solutions are everywhere, if we are looking for them. 

When we don’t teach resilience, we open our children up to a resistance to life’s hardships, unable to withstand ups and downs, and without the internal resources to cope with life.

So, how do we, as parents, correct this behavior?

We start by teaching children that uncomfortable feelings don’t have to be scary or bad, that in time, all things pass, and healing happens. Bad experiences, failures, and disappointments teach us things. Teach them skills that can help them reduce the feelings of unhappiness, anxiety, and stress; skills like practicing gratitude throughout the day, meditation, and yoga. These new activities will benefit your children in many ways.  For building resilience, practicing gratitude will wire their minds to focus on the good things in life, and meditation and yoga will help them develop thought focus and self-control.

When your children are suffering a disappointment or difficulty, here are some things you can say:

  • “I am sorry you are going through this.” Empathize but don’t fix it for them.
  • “You are so smart, and strong. I know you will figure this out.” Encourage them and remind them of how capable they are.
  • “I know that this is difficult and that you are disappointed, but you are going to go through this and be even smarter and stronger from what you are learning.” Make it a teachable moment.
  • “I know it’s hard to imagine, but I was your age once, and I felt very insecure and scared a lot of the time. I get what you’re going through, but you know what, it got better, and it will for you too.” Show them your vulnerability. Don’t try to play the superhero..
After they have overcome the problem or trying experience, remind them of that strength and resilience they developed and how it will always remain in them, for the next time life gets challenging.

Practice your responses. Be prepared. To help parents like yourself, I created Wishing Pixies. Parents find it much easier to talk to their children through the app as if they are the Pixie Doll. It makes communication easier for the parent, and more fun for the child. Wishing Pixies removes the awkwardness and discomfort a lot of parents of young children feel when trying to steer the behaviors and beliefs of their offspring.



Wishing Pixies is the only Mobile App that is accompanied by a physical doll. We combine technology with the real world and help parents teach good behavior and form good habits that can sustain through childhood into adulthood. It’s easy and fun.

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