Good Life

Fathering: Dads can help their kids develop thick skins

Kids and teens are constantly reminded about how important it is to speak to others with sensitivity and respect: “Don’t you talk to your sister that way” or “What did you just say?” We sometimes forget that communication is a two-way street.

As parents, we should pay attention to how our kids receive the communication as much as we pay attention to how they give it out. In the 2010 Psychology Today article “A Nation of Wimps,” psychologists indicate that parents’ hyper-concern can contribute to an over-sensitivity found in today’s kids and teens. Too many parents today are rushing to their kids’ side when a coach yells at them or a teacher disciplines them. As parents, we need to strike a healthy balance of being there for our kids, yet helping to thicken their skin.

Action ideas

• Think back to how your father responded to you when you complained about somebody saying something mean to you. Did he usually take your side, or did he challenge you to not take it so personally and make it a bigger deal than it was?

• Reflect on your common response to your kids when they’ve gotten upset from something said to them by a friend, teacher, or coach.

• Consider striking a healthy balance (depending on the situation). Part of preparing our kids for entering the world on their own is teaching them to “roll with the punches, not take things so personally, and not make a mountain out of a mole-hill.”