“Parenting for Resilience and the Power of Risk”

Last Wednesday, thanks to our Parents’ Association, we were fortunate to have Dr. Jean Clinton speak to us about Parenting for Resilience and the Power of Risk. Dr. Clinton is a world-renowned Child Psychiatrist who advises our Premier and the Minister of Education on the intersection of Children’s Mental Health and Education. Dr. Clinton is also an advisor to The Mabin School.

Dr. Clinton’s presentation is now on our website, and we hope to post the entire talk soon. For those of you who missed it, here are some big ideas that stood out for me:

Resilience is the ability to respond to a challenge by navigating oneself to resources that will help and then using them to persist through the challenge
In order to be resilient, a person must experience challenge, and resilience is created through a combination of personal characteristics, context, and life experience
To nurture resilience, we must teach our children cognitive flexibility and determination in the context of strong relationships
Children need to experience some stress and learn that they can overcome it
Having children experience failure, disappointment, and/or distress is necessary for growth and a building block of resilience
Teaching children to be reflective helps them learn to be resilient

Dr. Clinton left us with 10 key messages to contemplate from the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being. Many of them overlap with our 10 Habits of Mind. An idea that resonated with me was that bad feelings serve a purpose. Even though we sometimes feel uncomfortable when children are expressing sadness, anger, or disappointment, these feelings are important, and can actually galvanize people to do things differently. We can support children by helping them see that it is normal to have difficulties, that set-backs are natural, and that we will be with them through the struggle.

Dr. Clinton affirmed that we are right at The Mabin School to believe that even our youngest students are capable and competent. We are right to challenge students — academically, socially, and emotionally — to persist through challenge. And by helping our students set goals and work to achieve them, we are also helping them to build their own sense of selves and their resilience. Dr. Clinton left us with some key messages to use with our children:

I believe in you.
I have high expectations for you.
I am right there with you.

Excellent reminders for teachers and parents alike.