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Day 5, Building Resilience in Children; Building Character

People with strong core values make the greatest contributions, have the best sense of self, form the most secure and healthy relationships, and build the strongest communities. They are also happiest and often feel gratified and successful in life. People with strong character strengths are more resilient because they have the ability to return to a set of core values during trying times. It's so important to teach our kids at a young age how to do the right thing, even when others are not looking. We need to prepare them with strong character strengths so they can lead us into the future because let's face it, sometimes doing the right thing, isn't the most popular. I can't even imagine being their age nowadays. I thought "peer pressure" was hard when I grew's so different and much worse now.

Parents need to notice and nurture our children's inherent character strengths and can teach and reinforce others. We do so best when we model good living. With good role modeling, we can be pretty sure our children will develop strong character strengths themselves. We can be positive role models when we show our young people that we constantly work to improve ourselves, and that it’s okay to have flaws.

Character strengths can roughly be divided into two groups; performance character strengths and moral character strengths. Performance strengths are ones that predict success at school and work. They include qualities such as strong work ethic, perseverance, initiative, self-discipline, goal setting and determination, to name a few. Moral character strengths involve qualities such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty and loyalty. In other words, it means that you're a good person and have respect for others. They also include personal ways of interacting with people like generosity, forgiveness, caring, and showing loving kindness. Moral character enables us to be resilient and to experience gratitude even during challenging moments.

Do the Right Thing

Our fast-paced society values personal success. But we must be sure that our teens also value kindness, cooperation, sharing, and compassion for others. In a society that fosters the importance of winning, we must reinforce that it is how we play the game that defines us. In a culture where independence is a sign of success, we must communicate that the strongest, most fulfilled people are those who admit they need others. These issues pose some of the heftiest challenges of our times. Parenting isn’t easy and often it involves us making decisions that don't make our children happy, but doing the right thing defines character, doesn’t it?

Be the Tortoise; Not the Hare

Immediate gratification is a powerful motivator. Who doesn’t want pleasure now? But we know that the people who ultimately achieve their goals are those that can delay their immediate wants — they have those performance character strengths tightly tied to self-control.

When we support our children's tenacity and grit, we are setting the foundation for a strong, solid future. We do this when we reinforce values like saving and budgeting; allowing them to save now and later invest in something more meaningful to them. We do this every time we recognize their effort, despite the result. We do this by preparing them to be future-oriented so they work harder and make wiser decisions today and are are well equipped for tomorrow. Our children will learn through osmosis and what they are taught that more planning, design, and thoughtfulness up front produces better results in the end.

Positive Reinforcement

Sharing from experience, telling your child what they aern't doing right or how they should behave doesn’t work. It typically even backfires. Nobody likes being told what to do, it implies that they have a weakness and overtime can lead to confidence, lack of self esteem as well as depression and anxiety.

So how do you teach your kids and get them to do what is necessary? It actually takes more patience and effort but reinforce their best self. Nobody knows your child's strengths and weaknesses like you do. When you frame kids positively it does more than reinforce character. It protects them from those who might harm how they view themselves. It’s vitally important to be rooted in who you really are, especially as they go through their teenage years and early adulthood when so many others try to define you.

Ask yourself, what are the things that really define your child? Compassion? Caring? Fairness? Generosity? A healthy dose of stubbornness? A drive to get things done? The ability to bounce back after tough times? Humility? Gentleness? Sensitivity? Toughness? A can-do-it attitude? Gratitude? Grit? You'll be surprised how each of your kids have d