How do we nurture adaptability, resilience and self-motivation in our children?

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Laura was a first year university student when I met her in the hospital emergency room. She had slashed up her arms with the bow of her violin. She told me it was not a suicide attempt, but rather an act of desperation to cope with her feelings of exhaustion and anxiety. As a child, Laura was a star student excelling in academics and music, and she spent a lot of time in those activities. Laura’s mother solved many of her problems for her and protected her from everyday stresses, such as doing chores, because she didn’t want to interfere with Laura’s success in winning awards and medals. Things changed around the age of 16, when Laura began to have trouble with a curriculum that required critical thinking, creativity and collaborative group projects. Once in university, things became much worse and Laura admitted to me that she slashed her arms after she cheated in an English assignment that she was at risk of failing.

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