How to Be a Resilient Parent

Children learn more from what you do than what you say, so your resilience—the way they watch you approach adversity—affects theirs. Explore these mindful strategies for building awareness around challenging experiences.

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Imagine two equally talented graduates at their first jobs. Within a year, downsizing gets them both laid off. One becomes caught up in thinking he’s failed: I was never good enough. My boss hated me. The other decides, I wanted this job so badly. I better fix my resume and learn how to deal with a difficult boss better. Who moves through adversity more quickly?

The same attitude carries over for parents around daily routines, school, or anything else. If one parent expects bedtime to be stressful and another feels it should happen without much adult effort, who has a harder time sticking to sleep training when it gets challenging? Our perspective toward whatever we encounter in life fundamentally changes how we experience it.

Stress itself can be defined as the perception that something is more than we can handle. When we frame challenges as surmountable, we surmount them more easily. When we frame them as opportunities for failure, we more often fail. That may sound like the most hackneyed, clichéd advice ever, but it is a foundation of resilience research.

What is resilience?

Resilience relies on how we perceive our lives. So maybe we get queasy watching our child on…