The Art of Raising a Resilient Child – my book out now!
When I moved to America on a posting with my Military husband in 2010, we had three little children aged 5, 3, and almost 1. It was our fourth move together in six years and we were on the path of moving from house to house and city to city, every couple of years. With those moves came setting up a new lifestyle, new house, new way of living and a new community. Before our US move, our daughter had just started Kindergarten in Australia and had been at school for four months before we took her out of school, boarded a plane and arrived in Washington DC right at the beginning of the very long Summer Holidays. She had had her first taste of freedom at school and was thriving. To head back into being off school again for four months threw her little world into chaos and I wasn’t prepared for the massive impact the US lifestyle, so little space, extreme weather and a change of our little Aussie girl being an outdoors, fun loving, laid back child was about to have on our family. So that is when my research began on resilience. I read books, spoke to psychologists, school principals, teachers, countless parents and listened to Podcasts until I understood that my daughter had hit a patch of uncertainty or a ‘low’ in her journey. To help her through this, developing resilience and emotional intelligence became my ‘go to’. Sticker charts and punishments went out the window and we started on the path of embedding positive psychology to help her thrive and flourish…. Now at 15 years old, she has the resilience she needs to be part of a military family and generally weather the ups and downs of life. We arrived back in Australia from the US, two years and two months later time to start school all over again. My daughter was in a much better place to be able to begin her time at school and thrived that year. I also resumed my teaching career at that time and after being so close to social and emotional development, I quickly noticed the dearth of resilience in the classrooms I was teaching in. It became apparent that when students were not in a place of wellbeing, they didn’t have the capacity to learn. Learning really happened when students were socially and emotionally thriving and flourishing. I worked on a project at my school to implement a new wellbeing program that focused on resilience and this again propelled me towards developing child’s emotional wellbeing. To help me understand resilience even better, on a posting to Sydney in 2013, I flipped back to my old profession of Communications/Public Relations and worked at well-known charity, The Wayside Chapel in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Here, mental health, addiction and homeless intersected at many different levels and resilience took on a whole new meaning. Visitors to the Wayside were surviving, they were not in a place of thriving most often and resilience meant keeping themselves alive from day to day. Community took over and allowed them to be in a place of non-judgement for their decisions and we provided dignity, conversation and interest. This experience helped me to see humanity for what it is and how resilience intersects at different levels. I have worked with many families to change the patterns of habits, behaviours and expectations and to see family values as well as see the big picture of parenting. I have studied hundreds of children and their patterns of resilience and emotional intelligence and continued to study resilience and emotionally intelligence informally and formally with a degree in Counselling/Psychology. I have interviewed many psychologists, counsellors, teachers, school principals, parent educators, parenting experts, education expert, even a journalist who is part of the Slow Movement and teacher who is now a Children’s Technology Expert. I have written this book ‘The Art of Raising a Resilient Child’ based this book on research, evidence and experience and with the hope that parents are consciously making decisions while they are floundering in the trenches of children aged 0 to 8 years that will help them become resilient, confident and emotionally intelligent teenagers and adults. The balance is tricky, and it took me many, many hours (even years) to explore these topics and to hopefully be a better parent to my children as I went. I hope to share this research and experience with you, so your children will have the best chance to have a strong mind, brave heart and healthy body to allow them to weather the inevitable ups and downs of life.