Strategies For Developing Students’ Inner Resources
Last week in the Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, wrote an article directed toward Year 12 students in NSW. One of the areas she highlighted was the challenges faced for Year 12 students in 2020. A positive to emerge from the challenges was that the grit, determination and maturity with which the students have faced this year will stand them in good stead to conquer whatever difficulties they will face in the future. “No group since the Second World War has managed such challenges with such distinction. Already you are more prepared and equipped than any year before you to take on post-school life.” In a time where people are feeling ‘over COVID,’ there is a lot to be said about focusing on the positive aspects of the experience, and for parents to use this as an opportunity to assist their children to tap into their inner resources.
Michael Grose (parentideas.com.au) suggests that coping with change, dealing with small losses, handling rejection and overcoming disappointment are the types of experiences that build a child or young person’s inner resources. Developing resourcefulness is the appropriate approach to take when considering the disruptive impact that coronavirus is having on kids’ lives. A child who is struggling to come to grips with the changes brought about by the pandemic initially needs an emphatic, supportive approach. They also need encouragement to tap into their inner resources to help them manage the hard times. The following strategies will help develop your child or young person’s inner resources.
Give them a chance to be resourceful
Harry, age 10, often leaves his lunch at home. His father, who works from home, won’t take forgotten items to school. Harry either misses lunch or persuades his friends to share their lunches with him. Either way, when Harry leaves his lunch at home he’s forced to rely on his emotional or physical resourcefulness to get by. And he does.
Catch them being resourceful
A child’s behaviours that gain a parent’s attention generally expand. Highlight a child’s good manners, acts of kindness or honesty and you’re more likely to get a repeat of those behaviours. Positive parental recognition is a high motivator for most kids. To encourage your child’s resourcefulness, focus your attention and positive comments on acts of resourcefulness and resilience they exhibit.
Sylvia, age 13, walked to school each day saving her bus fare to spend on clothes that were out of reach of her parents’ budget. Sylvia found a way to overcome her money problem in her own way. Children and young people usually come up with very creative solutions when they’re allowed to own their problems.
Develop coping skills
Kids rely on their coping skills to help them manage their emotional states when life throws them curveballs. Build your child’s set of coping skills through direct teaching, modelling and discussion. Humour, distraction, relaxation, exercise, play and thought-distancing are some of the more common coping skills kids can use to help them tolerate their difficult feelings.
The resourcefulness a child develops when they experience adversity doesn’t desert them when life returns to normal. It waits in the background, ready to be drawn upon again when hardships, frustrations and difficulties come their way.
From our perspective, at WAC we seek to build this resilience in our students. We also encourage students to seek advice and support while also developing their problem-solving skills. In the context of Christian Education we encourage them to seek God’s help through prayer and placing their trust in Jesus. Often it is this faith based dimension and building that relationship, that strengthens our inner resources and enables us to cope with challenging situations.