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Are you Robbing Your Child of their Resilience?


Last updated 16 November 2011, 11:29 AM

As mentioned in our School Newsletter, attending school camp with Stage 2 again highlighted the great variation in the levels of resilience amongst our students. It reminded me of something I read last year in another school’s newsletter about seven things parents do that ‘rob their child’ of their resilience.

The ideas were from Michael Grose – a leading parental educator in Australia.  I would be really interested in your thoughts.


Robber # 1:

Fight all their battles for them.

Nothing wrong with going into bat when kids struggle or meet with difficulty inside or outside school, but make sure this is the last resort, not the first option.Fight all their battles for them

Resilience notion # 1: Give kids the opportunity to develop their own resourcefulness.

Robber # 2:

Make their problem, your problem

Sometimes parents can take too much responsibility for issues that are really up to children to work out or decide. Here’s a clue if you are wondering what I am talking about; a jumper is something a mother puts on her son when she is cold!

Resilience notion # 2 Make their problem, their problem.

Robber # 3:

Give kids too much voice

In this era of giving children a voice it is easy to go overboard and allow them too much of a say in what happens to them. Kids often take the easy option to avoid hard or unpleasant situations.

Resilience notion # 3: Make decisions for kids and expect them to adjust and cope.

Robber # 4:

Put unrealistic or relentless pressure on kids to perform

Expectations about success and achievement are important. Too low and kids will meet them. Too high and kids can give up. Too much and kids can experience anxiety.

Resilience notion # 4: Keep expectations in line with children’s abilities and don’t put excessive pressure on them.

Robber # 5:

Let kids give in too easily

Resilient learners link success with effort. They don’t give up because they don’t like a teacher or when confronted with multi-step or more complex activities. Similarly they don’t bail out of a sporting team half way through the season because the team is not winning or they are not enjoying it.

Resilience notion # 5: Encourage kids to complete what they have started even if the results aren’t perfect.

Robber # 6:

Neglect to develop independence

Don’t wait until they are teenagers to develop the skills of independent living. Start early and promote a broad skills set so that they can look after themselves if you are not around.

Resilience notion # 6: Don’t routinely do for kids what they can do for themselves.

Robber # 7:

Rescue kids from challenging or stretch situations

There are many times kids are put in situations that are outside their comfort zones for a time. For instance, giving a talk, singing at the school concert or going on school camp may be challenges for some kids. They are all situations that kids usually cope with so show your confidence in them and skill them up rather than opt for avoidance.

Resilience notion # 7: Overcoming challenges enables kids to grow and improve.



Kelly Green says:

16 Sep 2010 at 05:43 PM

I think this is fantastic advice.


Audrey Nay says:

21 Sep 2010 at 02:06 PM

I loved your reference to Masterchef and resilience then I spied this entry. I just had to share with our parents @


SA says:

21 Sep 2010 at 07:28 PM

Helicopter parenting!!! There was an article about this type of parenting in Sydney Child magazine, with the advise from psycologist's to parents to urgently start teaching their children the art of resilience. As parents we need to understand that we will not be always here to fight our childrens battles, but we need to teach them that in order for them to get up -sometimes you need to fail first. It's nothing wrong with "success", what's of upmost importance is how you get there.


Mr Mead says:

21 Sep 2010 at 09:22 PM

Thanks Audrey - why not become a follower of the blog - you never know what else you might come across. I am sure your Stage 3 kids would like the video about cyberbullying as a discussion starter.


Mr Mead says:

21 Sep 2010 at 09:22 PM

Fantastic ideas SA. It reminded me of a quote (from I don't remember who - Fall down 8 times, get up 9!


Nicolle @ Parent Coaching says:

24 Sep 2010 at 09:24 PM

Great article! Helicopter parenting does seem to be a symptom of the new generation of middle class parents - some parents are so completely devoted to their child's wellbeing that it's as if they can't separate their own identity from that of their children's.


Mr Mead says:

27 Sep 2010 at 04:58 PM

Thanks for the feedback Nicolle. Great to get the thoughts of someone with such a strong background in the field. It's also great to see the blog reaching a new audience - hope whoever referred you encourages you to come back again!