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.

How we deal with frustration in competitions affects our children

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Regarding sportsmanship, we need to consider actions that we would want to avoid, no matter how frustrated, disappointed we may feel, especially if we feel like we got cheated in some manner. No matter if we are watching a game, participating and especially if we are the coach. All of those participatory areas need good sportsmanship to be displayed, especially when you consider all the little eyes of children who are watching and learning from you. Sportsmanship goes for adults and young children who have younger siblings who mimic the way you speak and act.

Consider the effects of cheating with the goal of winning and the impact it has on the other competitors, the referee and those watching. Everyone can see what you are doing when you cheat, and if you do get away with it one time or more, you will not trust yourself in the future to play by the rules. Young ones watching will learn that doing whatever it takes to win is the way to conduct themselves and may take it further than you did, even hurting others in the name of competition.

Rude and foul language can be the result of frustration with yourself, other competitors and the referee when a person has not developed the virtue of self-discipline. The use of this kind of language results in younger players to believe it is the only way to express yourself when you are frustrated, and soon you will see it used in the home directed at parents or in a school directed at teachers or other authority figures. Viewed as disrespectful toward authority figures, it is easy to see how it has been learned by just watching how some react when involved in competitive activities.

One other behavior that we see from frustrated coaches, parents, and participants is throwing a temper tantrum when things do not go their way. Screaming, stomping their feet, throwing items around or crying all come from a level of frustration that is uncontrolled. Consider the feelings of those the tantrum is directed towards and the teaching that is happening with those watching you in the middle of such a tantrum.

If a person deals with frustration and disappointment in negative ways, it simply cannot make anyone involved feel good about the situation or themselves. Not the one cheating, using rude language or throwing a fit or those who are on the receiving end. Think of the impact on others playing the game or those in the stands watching the competition. So how do we develop better habits in this setting? Here is a simple suggestion.

When at home watching your favorite team on television, or playing a game with your family, this is the time to practice self-control, self-discipline, consideration and dignity. Balance your enthusiasm for winning, excellence and justice with forgiveness, honesty, moderation, and respect. Remember you are a role model for all those watching you, both young and old. Set the example of having zeal with doing the right thing.

Following the rules is good sportsmanship

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On a team & in the family!

One of the keys to good sportsmanship whether in a game or practicing it at home is the need for all the players to follow the rules. If we are at home, there are rules, or we might call them boundaries that have been decided on by the family as they way they would like to live in their home. Since we are on the “team” or the family, we follow all the rules of the family.

The rules in the family may be as simple as ‘no yelling in the house,’ but that rule is in cooperation with the virtue of peacefulness that has been established as important in the family. In other parts of our life, like in sports, any game that we play will have rules that make it safe and fair for all of the participants. There are rules about how the game is played, with how many players at a time, and how to keep score.

When someone breaks the rules of a game or goes against the standards of the team many times, others suffer from that breakdown of loyalty and integrity to the event. Inside a family, if rules are broken other family members suffer also. They may feel the disappointment or the peace in the home may be lost. Opportunities for all members of the family may
not be available, just because one member of the family chose not to follow the boundaries set for the family.

Remembering that our family is our primary team will also remind us to show kindness in all of the situations with the family. When someone makes a mistake, we expect for them to make amends to hold the honor of themselves and the family. Meanwhile, the rest of the family will show kindness and forgiveness for their teammate. This idea can be applied to our teams we play on outside of the home also.

Our goal as a family is to be good teammates, supporting each other, cheering each member of the family on to be their best, to stay within the boundaries set by the family, so we are united. When we have this kind of unity, every family member will find their way of being safe, healthy, successful and happy.

Sportsmanship begins with how we think about success

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Sportsmanship is expected of our children when they are playing a game whether they win or lose. When they are on a team in a league, many times, they are taught to show sportsmanship after a match by giving the other team a handshake and “good game” to each other. The idea of sportsmanship goes beyond the end of the game formalities.

Playing the game with respect for the rules, the all of the competitors and the spirit of competition is the key to enjoying the activity and improving ourselves physically and mentally. Playing only to win at the cost of showing respect, takes away from the lessons we can learn in the game, the spirit of competition and improvement of our skills.

So how do we teach our children to play their games with respect and grace, win or lose? It begins with how we role model as parents at home, and the attitude that is encouraged at home, even when you are playing a board game as a family.

Do not take this to mean that we should not have winners and losers at home in our game. In any game or competition most of the time someone wins, and someone loses. If our children do not learn this or everyone gets a trophy in a game that clearly has a winner, they are encouraged to believe that they cannot, or worse should not lose in a game. It is not the winning or losing that is critical, it is how we win or how we lose that has an impact on our resilience with school work, a job or anytime that we may have a loss or a win and what we learn from that performance.

I paraphrase John Wooden regarding competition, ‘you would be hard pressed to find a player of mine that would tell you that I ever mentioned winning or losing. Success in anything that you do comes from the satisfaction of mind that you did the best that you could with the capabilities you have.’ Sportsmanship begins with doing the best we can, putting forth our best efforts in preparation and performance and being satisfied that we did so. Of course, we want to win, but more important is did we play the game at our best, did we learn something and are we improving.

Gifts of Character: Sportsmanship – The Definition

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

Young students: No matter if we win or lose, we use kind words and follow the rules!

Older students: Showing respect for the rules, the participants and the spirit of competition.

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.

Using empathy to help with feelings of anger

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To get beyond our feelings of anger towards another person one simple thinking technique is to use the virtue of empathy and understanding. Empathy and understanding do not require that we agree with the other person. However it does mean that you are listening to them, acknowledging them, and are willing to discuss the two points of view.

Just asking yourself what the other person is feeling right now is a good first step. They may be afraid of losing something that is important to them or they physically be tired, sick or anxious about another event. All of these could create a response that does not fit into what we would like or expect.

You could also then ask, What is really important to them now. It is possible that some world affair is on their mind and they may have very strong view that do not fit the way you are thinking. But if it is important to them they may express themselves strongly wanting to be heard and understood.

Finally ask, How they are viewing this situation. They may see or hear this situation as a confrontation and it may not be so in your mind. Keeping in mind how they see or feel the subject at hand gives us insight into where the person’s point of view is coming from.
Using our empathy skills is a fundamental way of helping us be less angry.