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Tips on how to prepare kids for life's challenges

December 12, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

Biological background and family structure are sources of resilience, but the ability to cope, to recover and bounce back from challenges can be built. To prepare kids, parents need to:

  • Know the developmental stages in their child's life so they can teach what the child is capable of learning.

  • Encourage kids to express feelings. Give them examples of appropriate expression.

  • Encourage appropriate autonomy. In today's busy world, it may be quicker for parents to do things for the child instead of teaching the child to do things for herself. Take the time.

  • Practice making decisions and solving problems. Kids don't always get the steps involved. Talk out loud while you go through the process yourself, instead of getting from problem to solution internally.

  • Prepare kids for change. Talk to them, answering questions honestly with information they can handle. Think about taking the child to look at the new house if you are moving. Take advantage of orientation programs and opportunities to visit a new school.

  • Encourage kids to be involved in athletic programs, school programs, meaningful activities - meaningful jobs when they are teenagers.


- Sources: clinical social worker Jo Ann Shaffer Dooley, counselor Sybil Schiffman, clinical psychologist Milton F. Shore

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