4 Steps To Coach Our Children To Have Resilience

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Teaching our children to have resilience means that we must teach them how to solve problems, adversity, frustrations and overcome challenges. This is not done by telling them what to do, but rather helping them to clarify for themselves how to resolve the issue they are facing. How we do this is with questions and allowing them the time to think and express themselves.

Let’s look at a possible situation you may face with your child. If your child comes to you with a problem like someone is picking on them at school we may have a strong emotional response and want to know who what where when and even why. If we were to ask any of those questions first, we are in danger of cutting off the conversation immediately, as the child first wants us to know what and how they are feeling and they do not want you to jump in and solve the issue.

Here are the steps to follow to help them learn resilience.

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Brainstorm solutions
  3. Try one of the solutions
  4. Repeat until you have resolution.
  • Ask them (Step 1) what is happening and how they are feeling about the problem
  • Watch carefully and listen with patience. If they begin to cry, allow the tears, and you may ask, what the tears are about.
  • You may (Step 2) ask them what they would like to do about the situation. Again give them time.
  • Suggest that we might make a list of possible solutions or responses. There is no reaction to any of the ideas they come up with, even if they are far fetched, would bring adverse consequences or simply not going to work in your mind.
  • Be patient. Encourage adding more to the list even if it is at a later time.
  • Once you have a list of at least 5-10 options, then ask them what would happen if they did each of them. So if they said sometimes they would just like to hit them, only ask what the consequence would be and without emotion just write it down or have them write it down.
  • Now you have two lists; one of the actions and one of the consequences.
  • “Which one would you like to try first?” – Allow them to decide.

They have taken the first step in resilience.

Brainstorm possible solutions, choose one you would like to try.

(Step 3)  is to try it. This process can be (Step 4) repeated with any of the possible actions listed. You may need to help them practice what they choose to do, and you will want to follow up with them and see how or if it worked or if they want to try something different. But you are now teaching them the basics of practicing resilience.

Follow the process:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Brainstorm solutions
  3. Try one of the solutions
  4. Repeat until you have a resolution.

Coaching resilience is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our child. Jumping in, rescuing or solving their problems does not in the long term help them face the world we live in.

There is much more we can do to build resilience in our children and to bring out the best in them and ourselves. If you are interested in attending a workshop or having a presentation at your school on this subject feel free to contact Joe Van Deuren for information.

Resilience – we have a choice of what we believe

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Every human alive deal with adversity at some point in life. The adversity we face needs to be put into perspective for each individual. For a child, something that scares them may not be scary for an adult who has had that experience. Pain for one person may not be painful for another. A frustrating situation may be a minor disappointment for one and devastating to another. Our life experiences are all relative.

Those same experiences and how we react though is based on the same thing for everyone, no matter our age. We base our reaction on the belief we have about what we are facing. Frustrated? If we believe we cannot overcome this frustration ever, then we may get angry. A child that falls off their bike while learning to ride and hurts themselves may begin to believe they will never learn to ride the bike or they will just get hurt over and over again. This belief may lead to giving up and saying, “I can’t do it!”  However, if they get back on the bike, eventually they will learn and that shows resilience.

The key to resilience is what you believe will happen. Each individual is in control of the belief they have about any situation. We can choose to be positive or negative. There is a consequence on either side of those choices. Building resilience requires stepping out of our comfort zone, trying new things, sticking with it despite setbacks and encouraging ourselves that we can get this, we just have not done it yet.

Resilience is critical for personal growth, dealing with the adversities of life and solving problems with creativity. It begins with believing and trusting ourselves. It is the outgrowth of the virtue of certainty and means we have confidence. Most critical is that resilience can be learned even if we do not have it now.

During this month we will learn more about growing our resilience in a world of uncertainty.

Gifts of Character: Resilience – The Definition

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Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Resilience. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: When life pushes me down, I bounce back up!

Older students: The ability to bounce back from stress, challenge, trauma, failure or adversity

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.

Skills, Failures, Learning and Success Builds Confidence in Children and Adults

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Confidence is made up from two things that we have control over, each of us individually. The first thing we have control over is our character. It is our choice who we are, what the highest self is, how we act and what we choose to believe about ourselves and others. The stronger our character, the better we are as humans, the better we feel about ourselves as people who have something to contribute to the world.

The second thing that builds confidence is attaining skills, being able to do things with some proficiency. Those skills that we gain will be different for every person, depending on what natural abilities that they were born with, their environment and what they are exposed to as they grow as individuals and what their interests are. That makes each of us unique.

At the same time, all of us can learn new things, and that learning process and gaining proficiency in different area builds confidence. We may not be as good as others in what we can do, but as new skills are learned, it helps us to appreciate that with some effort and practice we can grow in other talents that may not have come to us naturally.

In this quest for new skills though, we can suffer setbacks and have failures, and for some, this is a real hit on their confidence. We must remember that our confidence is strengthened when we overcome those failures. Those are our learning moments.

If we never try something new and give ourselves the opportunity to learn, be willing to have failures and try again it is not possible to strengthen the virtue of confidence. Confidence comes from perseverance under difficult circumstances and having the reward of overcoming those difficulties.

I once had a student who was learning to jump rope and tried for several months to reach the stated goal of 45 seconds of continuous rope jumping. Despite practice and trying over and over he would get to 42 or 43 seconds and then miss. One day in one of his attempts he reached his goal of 45 seconds, and we were all so impressed with his determination. If that were where the story ended, it would have been a victory.

However, in just a couple of weeks he came in and asked me to time his jumping rope, and I did so. Unbelievably on that day, he jumped seven minutes and 26 seconds. He had confidence in his ability to persevere and overcome. His confidence still shows today as he learns new things in class if they do not come easy for him, he has the confidence that they will come with determination and he has just not gotten it yet.

Parents, as you watch your children learn new things there, will be times of failure. This is not the time to step in and do it for them or to save them from the consequences of mistakes. Failures and Consequences are how all of us learn and how we build confidence in our ability to overcome no matter what our age might be.

The can and can’t of success

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Success comes to us in every activity, based on the words we choose to tell ourselves. As Henry Ford once said, Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right. In other words, our success comes in our “can and can’t”.

A few years ago I was helping a young student with balance, and it was not coming quickly for him. After several unsuccessful attempts, I asked the group of student to help him “giving him some energy,” clapping in rhythm while he repeated the words, “Yes I Can.” With this little exercise, he accomplished the task and then continued to do so in the future.

Our confidence is affected by our thoughts and words that we tell ourselves and by what we have started to believe from the people that surround us. In recent years a new term has been coined by Carol Dweck and others that sum up the mindset needed to continue to learn and develop new skills. There is the contrast drawn between “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset.”

At a recent convention, I listened to scores of people complaining that they were not good writers and spoke of it regarding not everyone is a writer. In effect they were saying that they could not learn this skill – they were fixed on not being good at writing. When young people hear the adults in the room express this attitude, it rubs off on them, and they are less inclined to add the word “yet” to their thought process.

I may not be good at something, yet, but that does not mean that I cannot learn. Most of the time when a person dismisses a skill as not theirs and they “can’t do it” it says they have not put forth the effort and have no intentions of putting their mind to learning. Confidence is the growth mindset that says, I have not learned this yet – but with practice, I can learn.

Teach our children to have this attitude by the example we set as adults, trying and experiencing new things on a regular basis. The more often we can show our willingness to learn the more we open the minds of our children not to have a fear of failure, but rather the joy of learning with confidence that they can!

Confidence comes from taking risks and trying new things

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If you want to get the most out of life and feel like you are living life at it’s highest level you must do things that are challenging. That is not the same as goal setting and reaching your destination. Challenges are activities that take us beyond the boundaries of what we believe we are capable of or of our present abilities. When we get away from the distractions of our mundane life that keep us busy with all the everyday activities and stop procrastinating on the things we do not like to do, our stress levels go down. If you want to put more energy in your life and really get your brain and body moving, choose challenges that get us focused on an effort that really stretches us.


At that point what we need is Confidence. Think about our children who are constantly challenged as they learn new activities, skills, even ways of being with other people. It is the conquering of those challenges that builds their confidence that they will be able to figure other things out also. Even when they do not know how to do something or are afraid of trying something, they will be able to look for and find their confidence to attempt and say YES I can work on this task.


The same is true with adults or anyone. If we want to build more confidence we must stretch ourselves into activities, use our courage to move forward and say with a loud clear voice, “I can do it”.