A Little Kindness and Praise Goes a Long Way

It’s the great equalizer in parenting. How do children survive the mistakes of their parents?

I know children are resilient. There is something about youth and possibilities that help a child get through. But resilience is not completely inborn.

The best of parents has his or her bad days- or months. And that’s ok. Dealing with challenges is a key developmental task for children and parents. Consequently, those who master this task as children turn out to be better parents! I’m not suggesting that parents intentionally pose challenges to children’s happiness, and certainly not to their safety, but the upshot of parent mistakes (yelling, ineffective or unfair discipline, disappointment) is that children can learn from them and move past them.

But what really creates success for children is when they can contrast disappointment or hurt with true security, attachment, and positive regard from that same imperfect parent, made possible by as much praise and encouragement as possible. Real problems develop in children who know nothing but anger, depression, and irritability from their caregivers. Resilience develops when they have negative experiences but can look forward to hat parent becoming welcoming, loving, and supportive again.

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