Raising a Resilient Daughter or Son

Raising a Resilient Daughter or Son

One of the things that I have learnt during my time as a Psychologist is that parents are by far the most influential people in the lives of children. The involvement of parents is a consideration in all facets of my work with young people, and I am always on the lookout for resources that I can provide to parents who are striving to provide optimal experiences for their growing children.

The most useful resource that I have come across in recent years is Judith Locke’s book, The Bonsai Child. Judith is a Clinical Psychologist and former teacher who specialises in parenting and child wellbeing. Throughout years of clinical psychological practice, Judith has noted that parents are investing more time and effort into raising their children than ever before, but this has not resulted in improvements in children’s emotional wellbeing. Judith has explored this trend in great depth; she has determined that, despite the best intentions held by parents, recent parenting trends have contributed to poorer outcomes for children. Judith contends that parents are often encouraged to provide their children with perfect, happy experiences at all times; however, this can have unintended but adverse impacts for children, leaving them with poor life skills, low resilience, anxiety and perfectionism. Judith is therefore striving to assist parents to provide for children in a way that allows young people to develop resilience and confidence.

The Bonsai Child explores recent parenting trends and their impact on children, and introduces Judith’s concept of the “Bonsai Child” – a child who is “less likely to be able to contribute to the world because they have not been given or required to develop the skills required to fit in with real life” (p. 43). The book then offers practical and realistic strategies for parents, aimed at helping children to develop confidence, sociability, resilience, and self-regulation. Judith’s writing is very accessible – she presents complex ideas in a clear and logical way, and she uses anecdotes and humour to ensure that The Bonsai Child is an enjoyable read. I strongly recommend The Bonsai Child to parents in our School community.

We are also very fortunate to be welcoming Judith to our School later this month, to speak with both staff and parents about how we can best support our current generation of young people. These Parent Seminars will assist parents to help their children to experience happy, fulfilling years at school, to build the relationship between parents and their children, and to prepare children for the demands of school and life beyond Ivanhoe Girls’.

Dr Bridget McPherson, Head of Counselling

Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School

123 Marshall Street
Ivanhoe Victoria 3079

Telephone: + 61 3 9490 6222
Facsimile: + 61 3 9490 6200
Email: iggs@ivanhoegirls.vic.edu.au
ABN 77 004 098 748