Cultivate Resilience: How to Raise a Hopeful Child

For many of us, the importance of hope in our lives has never been as evident as it is now. The events of the past year and a half have shown us how important hope is to cultivate resilience and keep us afloat in a world pummeled by the waves of instability. 

But what is hope, exactly?

According to a definition developed in the 1990s, hope consists of three things: a goal; at least one path to achieving that goal; and the belief that one is capable of following that path to success.

As a parent, you’d like your children to grow up hopeful, well-adjusted, and resilient. Here are three ways to help them do that.

Cultivate independence

To give your child hope in hard times, you have to teach them to find and take those pathways to success in times of trouble. This requires independence, which in turn requires practice being independent. So give your child that opportunity. Whenever possible, resist the urge to tell your child what to do in a difficult situation. Instead, provide guidance, and then let them figure it out. 

Foster self-confidence

A self-confident child is one who has faith in their self, their abilities, and their decisions. Again, this requires practice. To foster self-confidence, let your child make personal choices, such as choosing what clothing to wear. But you can also solicit their input in larger family decisions, such as where to go on vacation or how to cheer up an ailing relative. Demonstrating that you trust your child’s judgment will help them realize that they can trust it, too.

Provide a soft landing spot

Everyone messes up, and so will your child. Make sure they know that your love for them doesn’t waver. Provide a soft, but firm foundation for them to fall on when things are difficult. A child who grows up in a supportive, forgiving home is well positioned to be independent, hopeful and resilient.

Raising a hopeful child doesn’t happen by accident, but it is a byproduct of a healthy and supportive home life. By giving your child the agency to make mistakes, faith in their own decisions, and a safe place to fail, you will cultivate resilience and set them up to be a hopeful adult, ready to weather any trials the world may throw at them.

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