Excerpt from Raising Resilient Children by Drs. Brooks & Goldstein, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Raising Resilient Children

Fostering Strength, Hope, and Optimism in Your Child

By Drs. Brooks & Goldstein

Raising Resilient Children

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt



6. Helping Our Children Experience Success by Identifying and Reinforcing Their "Islands of Competence"

Resilient children do not deny the problems they face, but they recognize and focus on their strengths. Unfortunately, many youngsters who feel poorly about themselves and their abilities experience a diminished sense of hope. This often leads them to minimize or fail to appreciate their strengths. Parents sometimes report that the positive comments they offer their children fall on "deaf ears," resulting in parents' becoming frustrated and reducing positive feedback.

Parents must realize that when children have low self-worth, they are less apt to accept our positive feedback. We should continue to offer this feedback, but, most important, we must recognize that true self-worth, hope, and resilience are based on children's experiencing success in areas of their lives that they and others deem to be important. This requires parents to identify and reinforce a child's "islands of competence." Every child possesses these islands of competence, or areas of strength, and we must promote these rather than overemphasize the child's weaknesses.

Fifteen-year-old Laurie had difficulty getting along with her peers, but young children gravitated toward her. As her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Laramie, put it, she was the "pied piper" of the neighborhood. Given this strength, she began to baby-sit. As she developed confidence, she was more willing to examine and change her approach with her peers, which led to greater acceptance.

We also knew a boy with reading difficulties who discovered that he was "gifted" in artwork, especially drawing cartoons. His parents and teachers displayed his cartoons at home and school, an action that boosted his self-esteem and in a concrete way communicated that he had strengths.

When children discover their strengths, they are more willing to confront even those areas that have proved to be problematic for them.


7. Helping Children Recognize That Mistakes Are Experiences from Which to Learn

There is a significant difference in the way in which resilient children view mistakes compared with nonresilient children. Resilient children tend to view mistakes as opportunities for learning. In contrast, children who are not very hopeful often experience mistakes as an indication that they are failures. In response to this pessimistic view, they are likely to retreat from challenges, feeling inadequate and blaming others for their problems. Thus, if parents are to raise resilient children, they must help them develop a healthy outlook about mistakes from an early age.

Mr. Burton criticizing Michael for not being able to complete the radio kit and Mrs. Murray punishing Billy for spilling milk are communicating (perhaps without even realizing it) that mistakes are terrible and punishable.

Instead, in promoting a more positive attitude toward mistakes, it is helpful for parents to reflect on how their children would answer the following questions: "When your parents make a mistake, what do they do?" and "When you make a mistake, or if something doesn't go right, what do your parents say or do with you?"

In frustration, many parents respond to mistakes in ways that actually lessen a child's confidence. If parents are to reinforce a resilient mindset in their children, their words and actions must communicate a belief that we can learn from mistakes. The fear of making mistakes is one of the most potent obstacles to learning, one that is incompatible with a resilient mindset.


8. Developing Responsibility, Compassion, and a Social Conscience by Providing Children with Opportunities to Contribute

Resilient children possess a sense of responsibility. But how do we reinforce responsibility in our youngsters? Too often, we call the first responsibilities we give children "chores." Most children and adults are not thrilled about doing chores, whereas almost every child from a very early age appears motivated to help others. The presence of this "helping drive" is supported by research in which adults were asked to reflect on their school experiences and to write about one of their most positive moments. One of the most common responses centered on being asked to help others in some manner (tutoring a younger child, painting murals in the school, running the film projector).

Copyright © 2001 Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...
  • Book Jacket: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    I feel like Gabrielle Zevin wrote this wonderful book, about a lonely New England bookstore owner ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois

All Discussions

Who Said...

Most of us who turn to any subject we love remember some morning or evening hour when...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.