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How to Parallel Parent and Raise Resilient Kids

by | May 16, 2023 | 0 comments

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

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I think one of the most amazing side effects (so to speak) of parallel parenting is the opportunity to raise resilient kids.

Think about it this way:

As you are struggling to find a more cohesive way to deal with a difficult or narcissistic ex, you are becoming emotionally tough.

Things that bothered you in the beginning won’t bother you later on.

Your kids can also build the same resiliency if you know how to guide them along the way.

Developing resiliency in children is important because it gives them the tools to navigate life’s challenges, be adaptable to situations, and persevere when things get tough.

Resilient kids can cope with setbacks, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and end up with better mental and emotional well-being.

So why not take advantage of one of the most amazing benefits of parallel parenting?

Let’s talk about how you can focus your parenting style on raising a resilient kid!

1. Be Consistent in Discipline

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When you’re navigating co-parenting in tricky situations, keeping things steady is super important.

Instead of having different rules in each household, try working together with your co-parent to set some clear and steady boundaries.

Let’s say bedtime is a bit of a battleground – if you both have different ideas, find a middle ground that makes sense for both of you.

Maybe it’s agreeing on a bedtime routine with similar activities to make it easier for your child to switch between homes.

The secret sauce here is collaboration. Keep those lines of communication open with your co-parent. Let them know how crucial it is to create a stable environment for your child.

When you both stand united on the rules, it makes things more predictable and comforting for your child, even if co-parenting is a bit of a rollercoaster.

And remember, consistency isn’t just for your benefit – it sets your child up with a solid foundation for understanding and dealing with the world around them.

2. Be a Good Role Model

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Co-parenting presents its fair share of challenges, but you’re not merely navigating them for yourself – you’re charting a course for resilient children.

Here are some ways that you can be a good model for your kiddo:

  • Lead by Example: Show your child how to deal with difficult situations. Try your best not to lose your cool and talk your child through how you are dealing with it.
  • Don’t Hide Your Feelings: This is actually counterintuitive. Instead, you want to show your child that it’s okay to feel – the important thing is how you handle your feelings.
  • Problem-Solving: When you run into dilemmas in your life, talk to your child about possible solutions. 

Showing resilience is an amazing way to teach your child resilience! I know it can be hard to keep your cool at times, but the more you tackle your own struggles with resilience, the more your kiddo will learn to do the same.

3. Encourage Them to Ask For Help When They Need It

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Being resilient doesn’t mean being able to handle all of life’s problems – it also means being able to ask for help! 

And I’m not just talking about help with tying their shoes or homework – I mean help with life problems, friends, teachers, and even their other parent.

This all starts with encouraging open communication in your home. You want your child to be able to comfortably share their thoughts and emotions without judgment.

You should also help your child recognize other reliable adults in their lives, like teachers and family friends. I remember when I was a kid, sometimes the last people I wanted to talk to about my problems were my parents. That’s just a natural part of growing up!

Creating an environment where asking for help is normal is going to help your child build resiliency and support their emotional well-being.

4. Don’t Shield Children From Hurt or Failure

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When you’re a parent, it’s natural to want to protect your children from hurt and failure. While successful parallel parenting involves shielding them from high-conflict co-parenting, you can’t 100% protect your kids from all of life’s disappointments.

But you can strike a balance between protecting them and giving them space to grow.

So imagine that your kiddo really wants to be on the soccer team but doesn’t make the cut. Instead of brushing off the disappointment, you can have a chat with them and validate their feelings while they express their letdown.

You can also share stories from your own life when you failed and how you worked through it.

Sometimes, however, their hurt isn’t going to stem from missing the mark. If you’re dealing with a narcissistic co-parent, they are likely going to feel disappointed by their other parent on a regular basis.

While it’s important to be honest with your child when you talk to them about their narcissistic parent, try to stay away from blame. Instead, help them understand that people have flaws and that their other parent’s behavior is not their fault.

5. Surround Them With Positive People and Experiences

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While you can do a lot directly with your child to promote their resiliency, it also helps to make sure they experience positivity throughout their day.

This can include encouraging strong connections with family members and having regular contact with them. You can also promote healthy friendships by planning playdates, participating in group activities, and creating opportunities for them to develop social skills.

If your child is older (i.e., they’ve aged out of “playdates”), you can enroll them in extracurricular activities that they are interested in. This will help them develop a sense of belonging and build their confidence.

Remember, the point is to surround your kiddo with a diverse array of positive influences. When you actively encourage these relationships and experiences, you help to counterbalance any negativity in their lives. It also helps them build emotional resilience!

6. Foster Independence and Decision-Making Skills

Giving your child the power of choice will also help them develop resilience.

For example, if you want to put your child in an extracurricular activity, let them choose what they want to do. Give them a choice between two activities.

This gives them a voice and helps with their decision-making skills. Plus, they’re more likely to enjoy an activity they choose for themselves!

In their day-to-day life, give them responsibilities around your home to help build their independence. Make sure these chores are age-appropriate and are things they are capable of doing.

This will give your kiddos a sense of responsibility. It also helps them feel accomplished since they can celebrate when they complete their tasks.

When it comes to dealing with conflict, sometimes kids aren’t emotionally equipped to make decisions. This is when you can guide your child through their problem and offer different solutions.

You can talk about the potential outcomes of each and then let them decide how they want to handle it.

And when it comes to co-parenting with a narcissist, communication between parents and households may be difficult and lead to conflict. This is why helping your child develop decision-making skills is vital.

Empower your child to make independent choices. This will give them a sense of control in situations where things may be beyond their influence.

Just remember that teaching your kiddo to be independent doesn’t mean they should be thrown to the wolves of life. It’s about giving them the tools and confidence to make well-informed decisions, even if they need a little guidance along the way.

7. Encourage Emotional Expression and Regulation

As they grow up, kids are learning how to deal with complex emotions. The happy, sad, mad of their toddler years isn’t enough to keep up with the complicated feelings that come later.

Along the way, you need to help them learn how to regulate their emotions and express them in a healthy way.

Here are some ways you can help them do that:

Encourage Artistic Expression

Encourage them to explore creative outlets such as drawing or painting. These types of activities provide a non-verbal way for your child to process and express their emotions.

Instead of talking it out (which is something most kids do not like to do), they can externalize their feelings visually and gain a better grasp on their experiences.

Introduce Journaling

Show your kiddo what journaling is and how it’s a form of self-reflection. Writing down thoughts and emotions is a therapeutic outlet for children (and grown-ups, too!).

Encourage your child to write about both their struggles and their achievements. A journal should be a place to express all emotions, good and bad.

Teach Mindfulness Practices

Teach your child simple mindfulness and relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation.

These activities help to develop self-awareness and emotional regulation. They help rewire the brain to deal with stress and conflict in a calmer and more controlled way.

Engage in Physical Activities

Start doing physical activities as a family. Exercise, in any form, releases endorphins, which positively influence mood and overall well-being.

Go for a family walk or bike ride, or have a dance party in your living room! Physical activity is a great way to release pent-up emotions.

Parallel Parenting and Raising Resilient Kids

So there you go! With some guidance and love, you can easily help your child develop resiliency.

Just remember that it all starts with you! As you become more resilient in your situation, your child is going to take notice and follow suit.

Encouraging the of the stuff is just going to help your kiddo succeed later in life!

How about you? How do you help your child deal with tough situations? Share your insight in the comments below! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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