The Power of “Even Though”
Building Resilience and Gratitude in Difficult Times
As parents, we want to equip our kids with the tools they’ll need to handle the struggles of life. Resilience is one of those tools we want to give our kids in their success toolbox. Building resilience is an on-going process throughout life. People who have been working on building resilience typically can handle hard times or know pull from past experiences to see their strength.
Resilience has many components. Teaching our kids to find the “even though …” in difficult times, is just one of many ways our kids can develop this vital skill. With this skill, we can accept the difficult situation and still look for ways to be thankful, find ways to overcome, or use skills we’ve developed in the past to feel better.
Importance of Gratitude
Instilling an attitude of gratitude in our families is important. The habitual practice of thankfulness has been shown to have many health benefits, from better mental health, to better sleep, to better relationships. (Read more on Instilling an Attitude of Gratitude in Our Kids here.)
Although we know that expressing gratitude is good for us, there are times in our lives when it’s difficult. Life throws us curve balls and we go through difficult seasons where it can be hard to find anything to be thankful for. In 2018, our family lost our home and everything we owned in a California wildfire. It was an incredibly difficult season, but we made a point to find any little thing to be thankful for.
Our kids learn a great deal about life from watching us. Therefore, it’s important for us to model resilience and gratitude for them to see. We can talk with them when life gets hard and let them see how we struggle and overcome. I think showing our kids what is “real” is important. Let them see you struggle and how you overcome. Model what you hope to see in them.
The Power of “Even Though” in action:
“Even though I got a bad grade, I can study more.”
“Even though I didn’t do well on the test, I know I studied really hard.”
“This bad thing happened. And even though it happened, I am OK.”
“Even though this is a hard situation, I know I can do hard things.”
“Even though I didn’t make the team, I can still play with my friends or try out next year.”
“Even though our home burned down, we are all safe and can make a plan to rebuild.”
Toxic Positivity and Empathy
A quick note on toxic positivity: When someone is struggling, it isn’t usually helpful to discount their feelings and what they are going through. For example, we had many people tell us, “It was just stuff” that we lost in the fire. They truly meant well and were trying to help us get perspective. It was JUST stuff, but it was OUR stuff, and hearing this all the time didn’t help us feel any better. This is where empathy is so important. We don’t need to discount hard times when trying to find the “even though.” Being empathetic, understanding, and compassionate are truly the best ways to build relationships and help people through difficult seasons.
As parents, we have many opportunities throughout our kid’s childhood to help them develop resilience. Finding the “even though …” in hard seasons is just one of the many ways we can help our kids practice gratitude and build mental strength.
By: Emily Scott, PhD
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This blog is written as an educational and general resource only. It should not be used to diagnose or as a substitute for parenting or relational therapy, advice, or counseling with a professional therapist or medical doctor. Renewed Hope Parenting is not responsible for results or use of the information provided in these pages if you choose to use them. Everything included in this blog and website is copyrighted to Emily Scott, PhD and Renewed Hope Parenting and may not be used without permission.