How to make your child more resilient Every parent needs to read this

How to make your child more resilient

Every parent needs to read this 

While doing research on forgiveness I came across an interesting study that all parents need to know about.

Throughout the 1990’s, Dr. Duke Marshall, a psychologist from Emory University studied resiliency in children.

When children grow into adults, why are some adults seemingly better equipped to overcome hardships than others? Was it their education? Home life? Social influences?

Dr. Marshall was curious to learn if there was one factor, above all the others, that helped children endure and overcome setbacks and tragedies and avoid self-destructive behaviors.

The study found that children who knew more about their family history—the good and bad, the triumphs and tragedies–grew up to be more resilient adults. Marshall’s study concluded that knowing family stories turned out to be “the best single predictor of a child’s health and happiness.”

According to the study, knowing family stories helped comfort children and allow them understand that they’re part of a bigger story. Dr. Marshall called this the “multi-generational self” and it helps children navigate the high and lows of their own life, provides moral guidance, and allows them to make important connections to a story much larger than their own.

When parents tell their true, coherent stories to their child– the good, the bad, and the ugly– the parent initiates the child into the harrowing and heartbreaking human narrative.  Children who hear their parents tell their own stories are better able to make form meaningful connections, make sense of their own suffering, and live a healthier, more positive life.

If you’re reading this, you’ve been hurt.

You’re living with some sort of pain which is most likely causing anxiety and stress. And though it sucks, your story is good for your children. An unflinching, truthful story about your struggles will help your children overcome their own struggles and become more resilient people.

Iphones, air pods, and anything else with blue-tooth capability is not the answer for raising strong, adaptable children. It’s the gift without buttons and batteries and a monthly fee that they really need. It’s the simple gift of a story–your story.

My favorite play is Arthur Miller’s classic, Death of a Salesman.

In the shadows of New York City, the patriarch, Willy Loman raises two sons, who while in high school show great promise but, now in their 30’s, both sons are failures.

The reason?

For years, Willy lied to his sons. He exaggerated stories of his fame and success. He also inflated his sons’ egos and filled their heads with false promises. Willy, as his oldest son Biff says, “…never told the truth for 10 minutes.”

Now, I’m not suggesting you return the literary staples high school English class. Some of that stuff is pretty boring… just thinking about a Tale of Two Cities turns my eyelids to cement.

But research, and a great American drama, suggest the best gift a parent can give their children is the gift of true family stories.

So you’re not Charles Dickens ( in fact…your children may be thankful.) But your children need to hear your stories.

Let them know what kind of stock they spring from.

Let them know that resiliency is a family affair.

Be well,


Need some encouragement? Some reassurance? Need to stay positive? This hardworking, suburban soccer dad with fancy hair can help. Subscribe and, like a pizza, get my posts delivered to your door ( your email inbox).



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