A Warm, Caring Environment
If you had a checklist of things that parents can do to help create resilience for kids, such as the checklist from Search-Institute.org, at the top of that list is, “I provide a warm, caring environment for my child at home” (search-institute.org, Assets for Youth). It seems like common sense to provide such an environment, but take a closer look at your home. Is it a pleasant place for kids to be? Do you encourage them to have friends over to the house? Do they feel that they can show up at any time with their friends, and you will be warm and welcoming?
As I worked with kids for over 40 years and had a conversation with them about the warm and caring environment, many kids gave hesitant answers. They would say things like, I guess so, or maybe, or our neighborhood is this and that. There wasn’t an immediate response or, Yes! Absolutely! My mom always does this or that to make my friends feel welcome. When we take time to look at the home environment, free from illegal substances, clean, warm, and inviting, we will find changes that we can make. This very presence in kids’ lives helps create resiliency or the Teflon coating of life that kids need to be resilient in their lives. Resiliency allows kids to bounce back from difficult times, defeats, and disappointments. As parents, when we help kids recognize this availability in their lives, we give them self-confidence, the freedom to be spontaneous, and enjoy their lives.
When the environment is restricting in some way, such as no friends without prior notice, or we can’t have people over because of the presence of drugs, alcohol, or other negative factors. We restrict kids’ happiness, their choice of friends, and their self-esteem. I encourage parents today to look at the home environment, seek some feedback from their kids on what they need to feel comfortable with their friends, and help give that to them. When kids can make choices regarding the home environment, they feel more a part of the family and are much happier.
A great article on Creating a Safe & Open Home Environment is available at Creating a Safe & Open Home Environment | Children’s Bureau (all4kids.org)
I have a book titled, Making Sense of Life: A Guidebook for Teens & Parents available at Dr. Rich Patterson – Get Youth and Family Results (pattersonphd.com)
Yours for Better Parenting,