Building Resilience – Choosing my child’s friends…

Mary Holloway- a resilience coach, once said, “Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up.” Developing resilience in young people is a crucial skill that we all need if we are to navigate the twists and turns of everyday life.

Over the years, I have heard from a lot of children comments such as “my mum told me not to play with …” or “I’m not allowed to play with…” or even “my parents said that I can’t be your friend anymore” This ‘friend choosing’ by parents places a lot of pressure on children, who are often torn between really liking another young person and doing what their parents have told them to do. It can also build rifts between students that would otherwise not develop and even grow into a bullying mentality as one child continuously becomes excluded or shunned by other.

In choosing ‘friends’ for our children at school we stop our children from learning how to make and manage friends, we stop them from learning how to play together – even when things don’t go the way they would like it to go. While we may think we are protecting them, what we are really doing is stripping them of the power to make choices and to develop much needed resilience tools. Perhaps a better approach, when your child comes home with friend issues or playground issues is to listen and ask “what could you do differently next time?” and let them come up with a solution.
Remember: When things go wrong, resilience is what helps you to cope and get through hard times. Sometimes it makes you even stronger than you were before.