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Building resilient kids through personal mastery

By Tim Heinecke

Posted  April 3 2016 | 0 Shares

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Building resilient kids through personal mastery

This is the second article in the 10 part series – Dad’s & Healthy Relationships

Successfully negotiating the trials of childhood and adolescence is challenging however this potentially perilous journey is made so much easier with the never failing love and support of parents. It goes without saying that children thrive when given the undivided attention of loving adults.

Rachel* was an 8 year old that came from a family that had been in the care of the welfare system for a long time and she really struggled at school. She was constantly in trouble due to her very complex needs that manifested in the form of manipulation and antagonisation with her peers and by 3rd class Rachel found herself at an alternative school setting, a place for young people with intricate needs that can not be adequately cared for in a mainstream school. This new placement however did not solve the complexities of Rachel’s home life and she continued to struggle to fit in and as a result she continued to be on the receiving end of the consequences that accompany these circumstances, detentions and suspensions, perplexing repercussions for a girl who needed the security and certainty of regular schooling.

Things changed dramatically for Rachel when she was finally placed with a loving foster family. Rachel’s new family lived on acreage and had a growing menagerie complete with chickens, sheep and ponies. One of Rachel’s new responsibilities was to look after the needs of several of the animals. Now it was not just patting the cute baby rabbits, Rachel had to scoop poop and regularly fill food and water trays. In a very short amount of time Rachel, through this idea of personal mastery, gained a sense of purpose. She became more knowledgable in caring for animals and very quickly she grew from a lost and dejected young girl to being the recipient of the award at her new school’s presentation ceremony for being the most improved in the junior school.

We all like to feel that we are capable however there are many aspects of our children’s lives that pip them up against others. From social media and standardised testing such as NAPLAN our children are acutely aware of societies need to place us in neat, comparable boxes. Helping your child to carve out their own niche through personal mastery is the antidote to this tricky reality. Whether is be gymnastics or soccer, surfing or chess kids who feel a sense of mastery blossom.

Helping our children achieve a sense of personal mastery has many benefits including:

Self Belief: Our children are constantly bombarded with ‘perfect realities’ or the fabricated lives of their idols. Working towards excellence in a certain endeavour gives your child the knowledge that they are talented, that they are able to achieve goals that they set for themselves.

Resilience: Some of the fastest growing health problems in young people today are depression and anxiety. Teaching your child from a young age that they are confident, competent and capable may help them later in life when things are tough.

Perseverance: They learn that we don’t give up as soon as things become difficult. We press on when adversity comes our way

Connecting With Others: Mastering a new skill often means that we need to join a team or a group of people who have similar interests. Having a wide circle of friends from a number of different areas has many advantages. One of the greatest benefits of this comes during the inevitable fall outs of friendship groups at school (and this happens to everyone from time to time). Kids can feel so discouraged when this happens however having different social circles means they will always have other buddies to play with.

Living In The Moment: Personal mastery of a skill gives a viable alternative to continual connection to a digital device. Parents often hold concerns for the amount of time their children spend in front

of a computer screen. Setting out on a mission of personal mastery provides difference to time spent in front of electronics.

So what can we do to help our kids on this journey of personal mastery?

Search for what they really like – What really makes them tick can be very different to what you like or what their siblings are into. This can be confronting for some dads as it is nice for our ego to think our kids were made in our likeness but this is often not the case. While you may have enjoyed the rough and tumble of rugby your child may be completely different and instead thrive when they are able to get into their drama or singing. Or conversely, you may really enjoy solving complex calculations yet your child is really into their sport. The secret here is to dig deep enough to get to the core of what your child really likes.

Persist – Taking on new challenges can be really daunting at first. It is normal for your child to want to give up when it becomes difficult. When they watch their favourite sports star or listen to musicians they admire there are no reminders of the tenacity that went in to making them as great as they are today. Excellence takes effort.

Praise effort over outcome – Intrinsic motivation (that feeling from deep inside) is what you are trying to build through personal mastery. Focussing on the energy as opposed to the result helps to promote the benefits of the journey. The child who plays tennis for the trophies is the first to put down the racquet for good when they come across a losing streak. Only by falling over do we learn to get up so as to continue.

Get involved with them – pursuits are easier tackled together. It can be incredibly rewarding to learn a new skill together and it is very important for your child to see that not everything comes easily to you. They benefit from seeing you toil alongside them.

Children who are encouraged to master a new skill go on to be successful at school and beyond. They learn that they are capable and they bring unique skills that are to be valued. They are confident taking on new challenges and they are not dismayed when curve balls are thrown their way. Set out together on a journey of personal mastery, the benefits for both you and your child are amazing.

Reviewed by Tim Heinecke 3 April 2016 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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Building resilient kids through personal mastery

PARENTING

Building resilient kids through personal mastery

This is the second article in the 10 part series – Dad’s & Healthy Relationships

Successfully negotiating the trials of childhood and adolescence is challenging however this potentially perilous journey is made so much easier with the never failing love and support of parents. It goes without saying that children thrive when given the undivided attention of loving adults.

Rachel* was an 8 year old that came from a family that had been in the care of the welfare system for a long time and she really struggled at school. She was constantly in trouble due to her very complex needs that manifested in the form of manipulation and antagonisation with her peers and by 3rd class Rachel found herself at an alternative school setting, a place for young people with intricate needs that can not be adequately cared for in a mainstream school. This new placement however did not solve the complexities of Rachel’s home life and she continued to struggle to fit in and as a result she continued to be on the receiving end of the consequences that accompany these circumstances, detentions and suspensions, perplexing repercussions for a girl who needed the security and certainty of regular schooling.

Things changed dramatically for Rachel when she was finally placed with a loving foster family. Rachel’s new family lived on acreage and had a growing menagerie complete with chickens, sheep and ponies. One of Rachel’s new responsibilities was to look after the needs of several of the animals. Now it was not just patting the cute baby rabbits, Rachel had to scoop poop and regularly fill food and water trays. In a very short amount of time Rachel, through this idea of personal mastery, gained a sense of purpose. She became more knowledgable in caring for animals and very quickly she grew from a lost and dejected young girl to being the recipient of the award at her new school’s presentation ceremony for being the most improved in the junior school.

We all like to feel that we are capable however there are many aspects of our children’s lives that pip them up against others. From social media and standardised testing such as NAPLAN our children are acutely aware of societies need to place us in neat, comparable boxes. Helping your child to carve out their own niche through personal mastery is the antidote to this tricky reality. Whether is be gymnastics or soccer, surfing or chess kids who feel a sense of mastery blossom.

Helping our children achieve a sense of personal mastery has many benefits including:

Self Belief: Our children are constantly bombarded with ‘perfect realities’ or the fabricated lives of their idols. Working towards excellence in a certain endeavour gives your child the knowledge that they are talented, that they are able to achieve goals that they set for themselves.

Resilience: Some of the fastest growing health problems in young people today are depression and anxiety. Teaching your child from a young age that they are confident, competent and capable may help them later in life when things are tough.

Perseverance: They learn that we don’t give up as soon as things become difficult. We press on when adversity comes our way

Connecting With Others: Mastering a new skill often means that we need to join a team or a group of people who have similar interests. Having a wide circle of friends from a number of different areas has many advantages. One of the greatest benefits of this comes during the inevitable fall outs of friendship groups at school (and this happens to everyone from time to time). Kids can feel so discouraged when this happens however having different social circles means they will always have other buddies to play with.

Living In The Moment: Personal mastery of a skill gives a viable alternative to continual connection to a digital device. Parents often hold concerns for the amount of time their children spend in front

of a computer screen. Setting out on a mission of personal mastery provides difference to time spent in front of electronics.

So what can we do to help our kids on this journey of personal mastery?

Search for what they really like – What really makes them tick can be very different to what you like or what their siblings are into. This can be confronting for some dads as it is nice for our ego to think our kids were made in our likeness but this is often not the case. While you may have enjoyed the rough and tumble of rugby your child may be completely different and instead thrive when they are able to get into their drama or singing. Or conversely, you may really enjoy solving complex calculations yet your child is really into their sport. The secret here is to dig deep enough to get to the core of what your child really likes.

Persist – Taking on new challenges can be really daunting at first. It is normal for your child to want to give up when it becomes difficult. When they watch their favourite sports star or listen to musicians they admire there are no reminders of the tenacity that went in to making them as great as they are today. Excellence takes effort.

Praise effort over outcome – Intrinsic motivation (that feeling from deep inside) is what you are trying to build through personal mastery. Focussing on the energy as opposed to the result helps to promote the benefits of the journey. The child who plays tennis for the trophies is the first to put down the racquet for good when they come across a losing streak. Only by falling over do we learn to get up so as to continue.

Get involved with them – pursuits are easier tackled together. It can be incredibly rewarding to learn a new skill together and it is very important for your child to see that not everything comes easily to you. They benefit from seeing you toil alongside them.

Children who are encouraged to master a new skill go on to be successful at school and beyond. They learn that they are capable and they bring unique skills that are to be valued. They are confident taking on new challenges and they are not dismayed when curve balls are thrown their way. Set out together on a journey of personal mastery, the benefits for both you and your child are amazing.

Reviewed by Lisa Kelly 3 April 2016
references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • Doc id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

more articles by Tim Heinecke

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latest articles

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MEET THE EXPERTS

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