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Resiliency Actually Requires Frustration

September 8, 2022

Resiliency is the capacity to overcome adversity.

It is learned and developed throughout childhood, even starting as a little one.

It requires the child to meet with frustration and to be soothed such that they settle and cope.

It is not about compensating for an upset such that the upset is offset by some gift or bribe.

As the child learns they survive their distress, then they have capacity to learn that distress isn’t the end of everything.

However, many parent seek to stave off all manner of upset or give something to the child to distract or compensate.

The learning there is that when in distress not only is one bailed out, but there is a net gain as provided by another.

Imagine the dismay and inability to cope when in another environment, say school, no one comes to the rescue and there is no payday for the upset encountered.

This then can feel catastrophic for the child.

They haven’t learned to either cope or self-soothe. They remain in their misery, overwhelmed.

Their thought goes towards those they believe should have run to their rescue with reward. To them they now experience resentment.

That resentment may seek to dispel itself through revenge, some sort of innapropriate acting out to a target of blame who is actually innocent.

What a horrible outcome.

Worse the outcome becomes when that target of blame becomes one’s romantic partner as the process continues to adult life.

When we run to only smooth the child’s path, versus express empathy and offer emotional support, but not compensation, a tremendous disservice may be done.

We do not seek to bring intentional frustration or distress to a child. This will occur naturally as when they want something that is not available or appropriate at the moment.

No need to negotiate and do all their problem solving, although occasionally it is ok and helpful.

This is the time to be empathetic, to understand their pain, to stand with them and facilitate their learning that we can survive the tumult and frustrations of life and with that, carry on.

Therein is resiliency.

That lesson equips them to manage life.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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