Imagine this, a pop quiz is announced in your child’s class. Your son or daughter panics because they are unprepared. Unable to answer the questions, they start to cry. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time they’ve reacted this way. As a parent, you’ve noticed your child frequently needs support when faced with conflicts and challenging circumstances.
Adaptability is the capacity to adjust to a change in circumstances, particularly when the change is unexpected. Kids are more adaptable when they’re able to employ skills like resilience, confidence, persistence, healthy risk, and positive self-talk.
Some young people struggle socially, academically, or emotionally when confronted with sudden and unexpected change.
How can we, as parents help our children to proactively adapt to different situations and adversity, so they come out stronger and more capable?
Adapt your parenting style
Do you have a perfectionistic child? Have you noticed them avoiding new things because they are afraid of failure? Some children are predisposed to be less adaptable. Work hard to be aware of how your children uniquely process their environment and plan accordingly. Make transitions a game, for example, if your plans suddenly change, laugh and tell your children, “you always need a plan b.” If you maintain your composure and don’t overreact, they will learn to transition with ease.
Then permit yourself to parent each of your children differently based on WHO they are. These differences may be large or small. Be willing to meet your children where they are and to help them grow.
As kids share space and possessions with others, they typically grow more flexible. If you have more than one child, require them to share often. If not, be sure your child spends plenty of time with other kids. Either way, encourage involvement in team sports, musical groups, and other sources of community. In these contexts, your kids will have plenty of opportunities to learn how to share, compromise, and exercise flexibility.
Allow kids to fail if you want them to succeed
Provide clear guidance and expectations for your children, and then allow struggle. Adaptability and resilience are forged through challenges. If you see your child struggling to put together a toy, resist the urge to run over and help. By allowing them to fail, you help them learn what adaptation feels like and grow in the confidence of knowing they can overcome the unexpected.
If we expect our children to be adaptable, as parents, we should practice the same values. No matter what our culture, every parent wants the absolute best for their children. We dream of raising brilliant scientists, doctors, or engineers. However, at what point do we stop pushing our dreams on our children? Are we as parents acting inflexibly? Perhaps it boils down to a straightforward ideal; allow your children to follow their dreams, you may be surprised where they lead.