As hard as we may try, it’s not possible to protect our children from everything which may happen around them or to them as they grow up. There will be times when they fall, when a friend says something nasty to them, or when they put Lego up their nose.
But these events and experiences are not always a bad thing. We may give them warnings, which they likely will not heed, and it will be difficult to watch them struggle and suffer. But there are many life lessons that they need to learn the hard way. The hard lessons for children come by experiencing, unshielded, these hardships themselves.
Learn To Fail
Learning to fail is one of those life lessons which is ultimately important in raising resilient children. Children who fail and accept that failure is a steppingstone become great problem solvers and are adaptable and build coping skills. None of us set out to fail, but with failure comes trying again. And it’s in the trying again that we learn more about ourselves, our capabilities, and often try harder. When our kids learn that failing is all a part of learning, they have a greater chance of succeeding.
Learn They Are Not The Centre Of The Universe
Our kids may forever be the centre of our world, but it most certainly does not mean the world around them will see them as mum does! Nor does it mean that mum’s attention won’t be distracted from them. Other children, family illnesses, a worldwide pandemic, can shift our perspective. A child, who once was very much the centre, can become a little displaced. It is not harmful for our children to realise we have other priorities or that our attention is not solely theirs.
Learn They Are Not Alone
On the flipside, an important lesson often learnt through incredible hardship will show a child that they are not alone; they have support to lean on in times of intense difficulty. Having a trusted adult to listen to them, to wipe away their tears, encourages children to be less afraid, develop coping skills, and become independent.
Learn That Life Isn’t Fair
I wonder if any of us can pinpoint when we learnt this lesson because all of us have been there. Yes, we may say, "it’s not fair" when we’re ten and not allowed to sleep over at our friends. But learning the true unfairness of life comes when a family member dies, or illness takes over. It is one of those abstract lessons we are all familiar with. Helping our children through these moments is a challenge and an opportunity for intense growth for their future.