Resilience, the ability to handle stress or adverse situations, is a hugely important skill to help your child grow into a successful, happy adult. Neurologically, people with more resilience tend to handle stress in a different way. Stress, which begins in the amygdala, can impede or shut down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain which handles decision-making and social behavior. People with a high level of resilience are better able to activate their prefrontal cortex in times of stress, and use it to calm their amygdala, allowing them to recover from or adapt to the stressful situation more efficiently. Suzuki lessons give your child plenty of ways to build their resilience!
Resilience depends on the presence of supportive relationships. Since you and your child work closely together in lessons and practice time, you are fostering the sort of loving, caring relationship that builds your child’s confidence. Knowing that they have you as a safety net allows your child to feel more comfortable exploring scary situations, and gives you opportunities to model your calming or coping mechanisms.
Social support is another thing that builds resilience. The more caring people surrounding your child and cheering them on, the more comfortable they’ll be exploring new things. Through the Suzuki framework of lessons, group classes, and recitals, your child will find a supportive network of teachers, parents, and fellow students.
High level executive functioning is another important aspect of resilience. Executive functioning refers to all the cognitive processes that are necessary for behavioral control, like memory, and the ability to control your attention and inhibitions. Building your child’s executive functioning will help strengthen their prefrontal cortex and its connections to the amygdala. Keeping a steady routine, building memory skills and impulse control, creative play, and allowing children to make age appropriate choices all build executive function!
Nurturing feelings of competence and a sense of mastery will help your child build resilience, and an instrument is the perfect tool to use to this end. As your child works on improving their skill at their instrument and hears your praise of their effort and skills, they’ll start to feel confident in their abilities, and eventually confident in themselves!