21-Day Parenting Challenge to Raise Thrivers

We are thrilled to tell you about "Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine," the new book by educational psychologist Dr. Michele Borba. In our view, this book could not come at a more critical time. According to Borba, kids today "are less happy and more stressed, lonely, depressed, and suicidal when compared with any previous generation-and those descriptions were identified prior to COVID-19,” which is why she wrote this book. We urge you to read it and to practice the following 21 skills below, shared with permission. Enjoy!

In our uncertain new world we must re-set parenting to ensure that our kids have a resilient skill-set to handle whatever comes their way. The optimum teaching technique is weaving the skills into everyday family interactions. Here are 21 skills to boost resilience from my book, Thrivers. Find one that appeals to you, then repeatedly use with your family until it becomes a habit, and then add keep adding the next and next. That’s how we will raise a generation of THRIVERS!

  1. Start with why. Raising thrivers starts by realizing why we must. Read pages 1-23, write a note to yourself to commit to help your child thrive, and review often.

  2. Salute positive thinking. Tune into when your child does utter optimism and commend it. “It’s hard to change, but that being optimistic!”, p 254.

  3. Share uplifting stories of helpers and everyday good guys in the news and your community. Thrivers learn to focus on the positive, instead of the negative, and keep a hopeful outlook, p 250.

  4. Teach SPARK to brainstorm solutions: Say the problem; Positives only; no judging ideas; Add to other ideas to create more options; Rapid fire possibilities: say whatever comes to mind; Keep sparking your brain for solutions then choose the best! Then if a problem comes say: “Spark your brain! You got this!”, p 180.

  5. Teach: “Do the hardest thing first” so the child won’t stress about a difficult task all night. Chunk hard tasks into smaller parts. “Cover all your problems except the top row. Lower it as you complete each row. Confidence and perseverance build as kids recognize that they can complete their tasks all by themselves, p 220.

  6. Stop rescuing! Thrivers learn to build agency, so step back from being kids’ safety net. Each week identify an age-appropriate skill-making bed, setting table, budgeting, etc. Show it, do together, step back, and watch until child masters. Then enforce rule: “Never do for your child what he can do for self” and teach next skill, p 204.

  7. Redefine “success” as a GAIN. Stress that success doesn’t happen overnight but with small gains over past performance due to personal effort. “Last week you were at 75%; today you’re at 79%. That’s a GAIN!”, p 207.

  8. Teach 1:2 breathing. “Take a slow, deep breath (inhale) your tummy and slowly exhale twice as long as inhale helps you relax. Pretend to sniff a flower (inhale) and then blow out a candle (exhale). Keep practicing, p 123.

  9. Institute a nightly review of the simple good parts about each person’s day to help your kids look on the bright side of life and develop optimistic thinking: “Sally asked me to play,” “I improved in math,” 251.

  10. Encourage constructive arguments to help kids consider alternative opinions and find their voice. Teach ARE: Assert: Be brief; share main point of your opinion with facts “I deserve a bigger allowance...” Reason: Give valid or proven reason “because I’m older”…; Eviden