Publix Family Style Magazine Fall 2010
by Carroll Campion Prasad, Ed.S, LPC
“Learning from the Tough Stuff” Building Resilience in Your Kids You can fasten your kids’ seatbelts and buckle their helmets, but you can’t protect them from the sting of disappointment. Parents can help soften the blow though. We talked to Brenna Hicks, a child therapist and mom in Tampa Bay, Florida and Carroll Campion Prasad, and [who was at the time of publication] school counselor in Columbia South Carolina, who assured us that even though it hurts, a little losing actually helps kids build resilience. Here’s how to support three common kid personality types. Use these insights to help your kids roll-and grow-with anything the new school year brings their way. “The Firecracker” You know if you’ve got a firecracker. She blows up quickly, but five minutes later she’s over it. “Often the trick with spirited kids is helping them to express something beyond anger,” Hicks says. “They express anger easily but resist more vulnerable emotions. These kids like to be in control.” Helping them tease out complicated feelings lets you get to the heart of the matter. “The Philosopher” Reserved kids tend to stay out of the fray-so they may not experience the agony of defeat as often. When they finally do, it can affect them even more. “Shyer kids are often very introspective and may analyze a loss deeply,” Hicks points out. “Try to draw them out; help them communicate their emotions so they don’t have to experience them alone.” “The Easy Rider” Even the coolest characters take some tough shots. Campion’s advice: Let them! Step back and let your laid-back child work through a problem. Be there for support but use a light touch. This is a child who can make his own choices and will gain helpful life experiences-and confidence-in the process. All-Around Good Advice The whole family will benefit when you put these habits into practice. 1. Resist telling them to shrug it off. “Kids have large emotional learning curves,” Hicks points out. “It is a big deal-to them.” 2. Reflect your child’s emotions. Say things like, you must feel so frustrated or I bet that makes you really sad. “When kids learn to define their feelings, they gain control over them.” Hicks says. 3. Be a model. “If Daddy or Mommy freaks out when they’re cut off in traffic, think what that teaches kids.” Campion notes (point taken!). “On the other hand, it’s good for children to understand that adults sometimes struggle too. We all have to learn to cope.”
Carroll is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an EMDR Clinician in private practice in Annandale, Virginia. Her work with children, families, couples and individuals of all ages is based on supporting their strengths and abilities in order to help transform painful patterns of behavior into successful new ways of interacting. Contact Carroll: (803) 479-2587.
Published in the December 2002/January 2003 edition of AveNews Columbia's Holistic World Ways Newspaper