Written by : Rick Capaldi, Ph.D. 

3 Steps for Raising Resilient Children

In our fast-paced competitive world, children often struggle to maintain their emotional stability, growing up safe and secure. Today, kids face challenges and dangers most of us never dreamed of, online predators, mass school shootings, cyberbullying—all of which can lead to anxiety, depression and worse (the consequences for which can be horrifying), all reminding us that parents need to pay attention. 

In my new book 21st Century Parenting, I point out that successful, emotionally stable children have parents who pay close attention to what’s going on in their child’s world emotionally, socially and behaviorally. They equip their children with the necessary tools to respond effectively to various challenges, supporting their resiliency towards embracing new opportunities driving them to their highest level of success. However, there are several obstacles parents must contend with in achieving that desired result. 

Each day millions of children and adolescents enter their world with more than their books, pens and iPads, often toting emotional backpacks crammed with issues, concerns and influence impacting their daily efforts. Unprepared due to insufficient parental support, direction and coping skills, their inability to demonstrate the resiliency needed to respond to various life crises, often causes them to embark on a downward spiral leading to decisions that sabotage their success. 

Others have similar experiences but respond with healthy coping mechanisms their parents helped develop. As a result, they bounce back, make good decisions and progress academically, socially and emotionally, feeling loved and supported by their family. So, how can parents guarantee parenting and family success?

A direction parents may want to consider is a new twist on an old theme. Remember the old 3 Rs: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic? Today, there’s a new set of 3 Rs, supporting a parental paradigm shift suggesting in order for children to be successful with the old three Rs, and more, parental attention should be focused on the influences and challenges affecting a child’s performance, health and welfare, and their inability to navigate through this “mind-field” of challenges without parental direction. 

The New 3 Rs

The “New 3 Rs”, Reading, Regulating and Redirecting, provide parents a "Parenting GPS," leading to successful, emotionally stable children with promising futures who, when confronted with conflict or disappointment, make good decisions supporting positive outcomes with a sense of confidence control, and security. 

Reading identifies what parents must pay attention to, relating to what’s going on in their child’s world.  By learning to read their child’s environment, their behavior, reactions and needs, parents come to recognize the challenges and conflicts their children are presented, knowing who and what influences them, and how this affects their performance and success.

Regulating is where parents learn how to teach their child self-regulation. By recognizing the importance of teaching their children how to regulate their emotional temperature, parents can keep their children from slipping into negative mood states, as well as recognize how, if left uncontrolled, such responses can impact their child’s success, coloring the decisions they make and behaviors they demonstrate. 

Redirecting is where parents learn the importance of parental leadership, redirecting their child’s behavior in order to achieve positive outcomes, helping their children accomplish relevant goals that lead to a heightened sense of self-worth, self-assurance and motivation.

So, today’s 21st-century answer to raising emotionally resilient children who bounce back from adversity and embrace new opportunities is adopting a new set of 3 Rs, Reading, Regulating and Redirecting a child’s environment, emotions and behavior, establishing present and future success and emotional well-being. 

Of course, this doesn’t come automatically. You can’t tweet, Google, FaceTime, Instagram or Snapchat your way to a healthy, successful family. Nor can you find parenting success on aisle nine at Target. Being a successful 21st-century parent mandates parents to recognize that what their children need most is the committed leadership and support of the single most influential people in their lives, their parents, supporting their development, safety and success—because if they don’t, no one else will.
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