Written April 26, 2021:
I often hear that women mature faster than men, but maybe I am an outlier. When I had my daughter at 30, I was not prepared (like most parents I suppose). When I first held her, I had this overwhelming realization (more like paralyzing fear to be honest) that in my arms is a human being I brought in this world and whom I am totally responsible for. I did not have plans and I certainly had no idea how to raise my baby. And she did not come with a manual!!!
I made the conscious decision not to spoil my child, being sheltered myself. Save for the baby sister and having my own pool, I got most of what I wanted when I was young. It was so difficult for me to adjust living away from home because I did (I meant do lol) not know a thing about life! I cried everytime I left home, for 2 years I think. For the first time in my entire life, I got Fs in school! And in an English paper and Math exam, subjects I was actually good at in high school! The boy I liked broke my heart! Hahaha.
“The data on resilience and happiness shows that overprotection is a form of deprivation. The idea that a child should avoid misery at all costs distorts both the reality of life and the ways children learn to find happiness.
More important for a child than seeking some elusive perpetual happiness, researchers find, is learning how to deescalate emotional storms. The goal for parenting should not be achieving a brittle “positive” psychology – clinging to a state of perpetual joy in one’s children – but rather teaching a child how to return on her own to a state of contentment, whatever may happen.
If we fail to learn in childhood how to handle the full catastrophe of a rich life, we grow up emotionally ill prepared. Learning to build these inner resources for a happier life demands that we endure the hard knocks of the playground – boot camp for the inevitable upsets of everyday relationships. Given how the brain masters social resilience, children need to rehearse for the ups and downs of social life, not experience a steady monotone if delight.”
Now that I am once again going through a difficult time, I am humbled by the realization that I still do not know much about life. From the time I left home when I was 16, twenty years has passed and it seems like I did very little growing up. One hard blow and life almost knocked me out. I am fortunate I have a very big why, otherwise I could easily see myself self-destruct last year.
I made great progress, but still has a lot to learn to be able to navigate life much better. Sometimes I still have the instinct to try and protect her from pain and difficulties, but I tell myself that I could not always be around to do that. Instead I promise I will try my best to raise a stronger, kinder, more loving, and more resilient woman in my daughter. The longest time I spent away from her is 3 weeks (more than a month when she was a few months’ old, but she does not remember that yet). I do not pressure her with school work. And her heart was broken twice already. Thinking about it, Sophia is already more resilient than I am.
How do you teach kids resilience?