Why Teaching Your Child Resilience Is So Important For Emergency Prep
When I think of the term “resilience” as it relates to children, I often think of a rafting trip I went on a while back. At one point during the journey, the guide led us to a series of tall rocks and cliffs and asked if anyone would like to jump off. A number of adults opted in, as did a handful of children who had accompanied their parents.
I watched as the parents made sure the kids’ lifejackets were secure. I watched as they dispensed careful advice about how to jump, how to land, and how to hold their lifejackets down so they wouldn’t get knocked in the face upon impact. But the thing that really struck me in that moment was that the parents could do nothing once their child’s feet left the cliff. It was all up to the child at that point. He or she would have to jump out far enough, stay upright, land feet-down, and hold on to his or her jacket. The parent, at that point, was rendered helpless.
Allowing our children to experience and learn new things can be an exhilarating part of the parenting process. But let’s be honest: it’s often terrifying. The desire to protect our children from difficult and potentially painful experiences is instinctual. But as every parent knows, it’s simply not possible to protect them at all times. And so it’s also our job to prepare them as best as possible for when they must face these challenges alone. This means teaching them to develop their own methods of problem solving, how to self-soothe, and how to cope with the wide range of difficult circumstances they will inevitably be confronted with over the course of their lives. This means teaching our children to be, above all, resilient in the face of challenges, no matter what form these obstacles may take.
There is, of course, no set template for teaching your child to be resilient. But one of the first and most effective strategies parents can implement is to model healthy coping skills themselves. Your children will witness you confront disappointment and loss on many occasions, and the way they see you handle these difficult moments will be the foundation on which your child builds his or her own sense of resilience.
In the context of preparing your child as much as possible to cope with an emergency situation, your LadyBugOut bag is a terrific teaching tool. Have honest conversations with them about what might happen during a natural disaster. Help them develop a strong familiarity with the bag’s contents and help them practice how each item inside works. The more knowledge they are equipped with, the more confident they will feel in making decisions, and the better they will be able to cope. All of which results in a greater sense of resiliency—one of the things that will offer your child the greatest protection in the long run.