Family Looking Up

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Creating Resilience in Kids – Guest Niki Olsen. Episode 1

Thanks for joining us on our very first episode of Family Looking Up.  We want to help lift and encourage by discussing all things family.  Today we talked about parenting, specifically raising more resilient kids with more teaching and less punishing.

We talked to Niki Olsen, a Clinical Mental Health Counselor.   She has spent over 16 years working with youth and families specializing in a modality called Mind Body Bridging which can help a variety of issues. She is married with two little girls in elementary. She currently lives in Utah but is originally from Oregon. Niki loves to spend her free time with her family, exercising and sleeping.

We started our interview by discussing four factors that have been identified as a common set of factors that predispose children to positive outcomes in the face of significant adversity:

  1. Facilitating supportive adult-child relationships -Discussion on teaching vs. punishing.  
  2. Building a sense of self-efficacy and perceived control- Being concrete in your demands, positive and informative.  Effective consequences and effective praise
  3. Providing opportunities to strengthen adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities- We discussed raising adults.  Giving them skills and opportunities to learn to do things independently now will help them to be more successful as adults
  4. Mobilizing sources of faith, hope, and cultural traditions- Giving kids a sense of belonging and identity through culture, traditions, and faith.

Research has shown that children who have these things in their lives tend to be more resilient.  The skills she taught also can help us stop being mad and frustrated at our kids and give them (and  us) space to feel all the feelings and still teach our kids and get the results we want.  

We finished by talking about not comparing ourselves to other moms.  Niki pointed out that every family has their own issues.  Don’t compare your worst to their best!

Mom Squad Challenge: Practice reflective listening with your kids.  Instead of responding or reacting, just listen and repeat back to them what they are telling you.  By doing this, Niki teaches that the child is more likely to talk to you and tell you more than if you react.

Books Niki loves (Click on Amazon link to purchase):

The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle  

Common Sense Parenting by Ray Burke Ph.D, Ron Heron, and Bridget A. Barnes M.S


How to talk to your child about Sex by Richard and Linda Eyre

Where did I come From (I really don’t like it, but Camille likes it) by Peter Mayle and Arthur Robins

17 Comment

  1. I loved this podcast! I especially liked the section on letting kids have bad days. I tend to push my kids to get over things quickly. There should be balance in everything, and it’s ok to have a bad day.
    Also, we just had a faculty meeting at my school on Friday, and the focus was on behavior. He’s the quote they gave:
    “If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach. If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach. If a child doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach. If a child doesn’t know how to drive, we teach. If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we . . . teach? . . . punish? Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?” ~Herner, 1998
    Too true Herner . . . too true! Good job ladies; I look forward to listening to your next one!

    1. It’s too true Amy. I was thinking just the same thing while watching a child struggle in a similar situation yesterday. We are, too often, left without any idea what the right answer is in how to teach and discipline. Thank you so much for listening and for your insightful comment!

  2. I have an almost two year old that throws tantrums like CRAZY. I mean epic tantrums like I legit thought only happened in movies: stomping feet, throwing himself, on the floor, banging his head on the walls etc. It is insane!!

    Can I teach a two year old steps? Currently, when he loses it he has to go sit in his bed. Someone give me ideas. I am losing my mind.

    1. Oh boy! That is rough. Why do kids make easy things so difficult sometimes??? I forwarded your comment to Niki. This is what she says, “In the book [mentioned in the episode] it talks about “intensive teaching,” which is a tool to use on them when they are out of instruction control. Find out what they want, and break it down into two steps. Have them practice/role play those steps when they aren’t upset.” Good Luck!!

  3. Enjoyed listening to this cast. I think that us DADS can learn a great deal on how to help out at home. looking forward to future casts.

    1. Thanks Mason! I am beyond thrilled that you listened! We have actually received a fair amount of suggestions that we be more “dad friendly”. Not that we’re not friendly to dad’s, just that we were aiming more toward mom’s. So, our future episodes will talk much more to both parents. Keep listening and tell us your thoughts!!

  4. Loved this !! It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes that I have printed and hanging in my bathroom. “Thinking of your child as behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your child as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help them through their distress.”

    1. Thank you, Ginger. As an elementary school teacher, I have learned to follow this same thought about children’s behavior as well. i don’t use the word “misbehavior” anymore–“misunderstood behavior” is truly a new mindset for me–it helps me see the need for understanding what the child is trying to tell me–their behavior is the way young children reveal to us their state of being–are they scared? Lonely? Hungry? Tiresd? Overwhelmed? Anxious about a new situation? Understanding their behavior has helped me as a teacher to think about how my own behavior is affecting theirs. “What am i doing or not doing that is contributing to a child”s behavior?” Is a constant reflection.

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