• Joe Chan

How do we build resilience in our children?

Updated: Nov 4


Coach Joe Chan playing a game with his son

In a recent blog post that I shared about an interview that I did with The Straits Times, I touched on the topic of building resilience in our kids. And recently my elder boy just finished his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), I reflected on this topic again.


The question that I was pondering is, “How can we parents build that resilience within our children so that they can be successful in school and in life?”


And I believe that many parents out there are secretly wishing that there is a place or programme where they can send their children in order to learn resilience. But in reality, will there ever be such an option? As a youth life coach and being in the social service sector for the last many years, I can only say that there won’t be perfect solutions to this need. So then it means that the family will still be that platform and avenue to really build such resilience in our children as we prepare them for the future.


Here are three ideas that have worked for me as I reflected on my own journey of walking through with my elder son for his major exams recently.


Idea Number 1: It is ok to fail as long as you gave your best.

It is ok to fail as long as you gave your best

All along, I gave a very clear message to my boy that failure is ok and there’s nothing wrong with failing but it is not ok not to give your best. With that position, I made it clear to him that it is all about hard work and effort. And if your very best result in still failing, that is ok. As I adopt this position with him, I paid attention to his effort, big and small. I affirmed his hard work put in and focused on the process rather than the outcomes which are down the road. In doing so, we focused on what is within our control which is very empowering for our child.


Idea Number 2: You need to know what you are working hard for.

You need to know what you are working hard for

Many of our children in the education system got no idea why they are going to school, studying hard, and getting the marks that they are supposed to get. You might be surprised to hear the kind of answers if we ever get to interview every one of these kids in school today on why they are in school studying. Although this is something so critically important to possess yet this is not something that comes natural to them because it is not emphasized and processed with them.

For my boy, I took time to process and broke down the goal and purpose of education, going to school and cultivating the discipline of learning in life. This is a crucial step that parents have to take if they were to cultivate resilience in their child. No one child is the same as another and therefore we have to spend that time needed to discover their unique motivation for learning and development as an individual so that they know what they are aiming for.


Idea Number 3: Life is bigger than school and grades.

Life is bigger than school and grades

Do you find your conversations with your kid just revolving around homework, tuition, school and results? If it is then that is a signal that we need to evaluate our relationship with our child.

Remember that school is only a part of our child’s life. There are still other important aspects that we should focus on and monitor their overall development. During this period leading up to his major exams, I continued to have conversations with him about play, computer games, books he read, friends he plays with, our family matters, my work, the government and even the global economy!

For me, resilience is a multi-dimension concept that cuts through different domains in a child. So if I’m trying to raise a child that’s successful in school and in life, I need to interact meaningful with my child across the different domains.

So today, I hope you can consider these questions for yourself:

  1. What is it that I am doing well today as a parent that I should continue to do more of?

  2. If I were to be a slightly better parent tomorrow, what would I be doing slightly differently?

  3. Where and who can I turn to today for ideas and inputs to be a better parent?

Hope you have taken away some useful points for yourself as a parent. And if you feel that you need someone to give you some input, please feel free to book a free consultation with me here.


About the author:

Coach Joe Chan

*Coach Joe Chan offers coaching services for parents and young people who have different concerns at home. He specializes in coaching parents to overcome their communication issues with their children by creating solutions together with them in the shortest time possible. With his training in social work, coaching and therapy, along with 20 years of fieldwork experience with youth and families, he is confident to bring your parenting to the next level.


For more information, check out his website here.


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