We need to teach our children resilience, whether for playing board games or in the game of life.
We need to teach our children resilience, whether for playing board games or in the game of life. Thinkstock

Teaching them to lose helps them to win in life

Nana Knows Best - with Sharon Luck

WOULDN'T it be nice if we could dish up resilience the same way we dish up breakfast - open a box, pour it into a bowl and add some milk?

So simple and easy.

But like so many other life skills, resilience is not achieved quite so easily.

If it was, we wouldn't have experts in just about every field lamenting the lack of resilience in today's young people when they talk about everything from drug and alcohol issues to mental health issues and a general feeling of isolation and disconnect.

What exactly is resilience? To me it is the ability to deal with problems, issues and challenges in a healthy and productive way.

It doesn't mean there won't be tears, sadness and frustration but resilience means we can deal with problems, find solutions and then move on to the next thing in our lives.

I've raised three kids and I'm still not sure exactly what the secret to success is. I suspect it is a bit like those other life essentials of respect, patience and fairness - they are developed layer upon layer by loving parents who are consistent in their expectations but also consistently set good examples.

I think it helps to regularly picture the sort of person you want to be spending time with when they are older.

A lot of that future adult behaviour grows from the behaviour you accept from that cute toddler today.

I was reminded of this when I spoke to a little boy I know recently.

"We always let her win,” he said after his little sister won the game they were playing.

"She doesn't like to lose,” he added.

Take a second to imagine how that behaviour will influence her as a teenager if it is allowed to continue. What sort of friend, partner or colleague will she be if she never learns to be a good winner and an even better loser?

As parents we teach so much through everyday experiences - helping a toddler deal with a broken toy, helping your primary- school-aged child resolve a fight with a friend or guiding your teenager as they come to terms with a bad mark on a high school exam.

Talking to your kids about how they can deal with a problem is important but it is just as important to resist the urge to solve their problems for them.

Of course you can be there helping from the sidelines but it is essential to let them be the main player in resolving their issue.

In a world where we have become conditioned to expect quick results in everything we do it is understandable that parents choose the easy option or give up when they don't see immediate results.

School holidays can be a testing time for some parents but why not see this extra free time with the kids as an opportunity to help your kids to grow into the best possible version of their future selves?