Resilience is the capacity to recover from setbacks, to rise above difficulties, and to move forward with optimism. Children are born with differing capacities for resilience. Emotional balance is similar to buoyancy— the tendency to rise back above the surface after being pushed underwater. Children have natural resilience or buoyancy, but some children need more support than others to overcome challenges, depending on their constitution, condition, temperament, level of experience, and situation.
Your belief and trust in your baby are fundamental to his development of strength and resilience. If he has a deep connection to at least one adult, he can experience unconditional love and security, which allows him to develop the roots that are the foundation for coping with obstacles and building resilience.
Parents often question their parenting abilities. When something goes wrong, it can be easy to blame yourself. The amount of information and advice about parenting can be overwhelming, and you may feel pressured to keep up with other parents.
While suggestions for the daily care of your child can be helpful, the best advice comes from listening to your own instincts. Living creatures innately know how to nourish and protect their young. Sea turtles dig in the sand at night to create a haven for their hatching eggs. Birds predigest food for their babies and then teach them to hunt for their own food. This parental know-how comes from instinct.
Parental choice and responsibility in humans are similarly wired. Primal love directs parents to protect and care for their babies, to nourish them and help them thrive. You first feed and protect your newborn, and then you care for his emotional and physical well-being. You nourish his ability to survive, and then you help him become autonomous and independent.
Your parental intuition, combined with your intimate knowledge of your child, provides you with a singular insight as to how to parent him and an internal compass you can count on when it comes to making choices about his care.
A parent’s intuition is a powerful resource. Einstein said that the intuitive mind is a “sacred gift” and the rational mind is a “faithful servant.” The intuitive mind can grasp ideas and concepts that are outside of everyday experience, and the rational mind helps to put those ideas into action. Your parental intuition, combined with your intimate knowledge of your child, provides you with a singular insight as to how to parent him and an internal compass you can count on when it comes to making choices about his care.
When a situation overwhelms you, take a moment to step back and to get perspective. Ask yourself, “What really matters?” Through this question, you can connect with your inner self and let your intuition guide you toward the right choice for your child. Your natural instincts guide and empower you in caring for your baby.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that describes artistic beauty as something that is imperfect,
impermanent, and incomplete—blessed with unique quirks and asymmetrical elegance.
This term also applies to the art of parenting. You do not have to be perfect as a parent.
Wabi-sabi parenting reflects the beauty of perfect imperfection.
Give Them Roots, Give Them Wings
Helping your child develop his character and resilience is similar to helping him develop a healthy immune system through exposure to bacteria or viruses. In both cases, the goal is to build his resistance and strength. If you overprotect him from difficulties and challenges, he may feel secure in the short term but vulnerable and weak in the long term.
Overprotection of your child, especially when accompanied by extreme nervousness about his safety and well-being, can cause tension and anxiety. As your child grows, separation is essential for his healthy development. Your child needs to individuate and to become an independent decision maker with his own purpose and dreams.
If you have strong attachments or societal projections regarding your child’s future, he may have a difficult time living up to your expectations. Instead, if you empower him with a deep sense of self-worth, he will have the confidence to be himself and to pursue his own way.