Here's the No. 1 Skill for Raising Highly Resilient Kids, Says Parenting Expert and Neuropsychologist

Dr. Stejskal's number one tip for raising resilient and confident kids is to be a present and emotionally available parent.

Here's the No. 1 Skill for Raising Highly Resilient Kids, Says Parenting Expert and Neuropsychologist

I've spent the last two decades studying the.

Neuroscience of Resilience

As I traveled the world sharing my research with parents, they would often ask me, "How can you use your findings to help raise resilient children?"

I'm a young mother with a lot to learn about parenting. One skill has helped boost my children's confidence and resilience. It's called "worrying well."

As parents, our role is not to eliminate worry and anxiety from children's lives but to equip them with the tools they need to deal with it. Here are some tips on how to help them, especially if you know they tend to panic.

Allow yourself to be worried, but then let go.

Invite your children to "worry sessions" instead of telling them not to worry.

Set a five-minute timer and ask your child about all aspects of the concern. You can ask them to write down their worries. Once the period has ended, tell them to let go of their worries and not think about them anymore.

Remind your child that they have already experienced enough worry. If needed, these sessions can be repeated daily.

Create a worry jar or box.

Here is where you can store your child's worries. Your child can decorate the box, and then list each worry on a sheet of paper. Then store it in the container. Once it's in the box, they don't need to worry about it.

Imagine the worst-case scenario.

Ask your child, "What is the worst thing that could happen?" It helps them to feel more confident because they understand that the worst-case scenario is not as bad they imagined.

This also helps them to gain perspective. Tell them that they can get help from the teacher or a tutor if they don't pass.

It is important to remind our children that even the worst case scenario can be handled. This will help them realize that many problems are manageable.

Imagine the best-case scenario.

Encourage your children to think of positive outcomes rather than the worst.

Samson, my anxious son, was asking me on the way to Albuquerque a lot of questions about what would happen in the event that the balloon punctured, or if it ran out air. I told him to visualize himself soaring high above the earth with the wind blowing in his hair.

This method teaches the children how to think more logically.

Positive outcomes should be highlighted and emphasized.

We were able to get up into the air with no problem during our hot air balloon trip. When it came time to land, the wind was completely gone. Our fuel was running out as we hung there over houses and highways.

Samson asked me, "Is this the time to panic?" As the pilot explained his new landing plan, I turned to Samson and said,

"No," I said with a smirk. It's still not the right time to panic. You'll know first if there is a real reason to be concerned.

After landing, I told Samson that everything went well: we landed safely and saw an incredible view. I told him, even though he had been anxious, it was a wonderful experience.

Now he has something to always remember, which can make him more resilient and confident in the future.

Taryn Marie Stejskal

The founder of the

Resilience Leadership Institute

Author of

The 5 Practices of Highly Resistant People: Why Some Flourish While Others Fold.

She was Head of Executive Leadership Development & Talent Strategy for Nike, and Head of Global Leadership Development for Cigna. She holds a doctorate and master's degree from the University of Maryland. She completed postdoctoral and predoctoral fellowships at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. Follow Taryn.


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