It is a bit of both. The problem is when children are raised in an overly protected cocoon, then it is hard to build their resilience. The problem is when parents step in and solve kids problems all the time or ask for special treatment. When challenges arrive later in life they are not equipped to deal with them. What if they don't get into the course they wanted? Can mum and dad do anything about that? What if they don't get the job they went for? Or a relationship breaks down? How will they cope? As parents you can't necessarily change these situations but you can help your child cope in a resilient manner.
It is important for children to be equipped not only with a strong self esteem, but also the ability to bounce forward (a phrase coined by Sam Cawthorn) and take challenges and failures on the chin. Each challenge they face and each time they fail, provides an opportunity for growth and the development of resilience.
Speech and/or drama classes are a great way to help build both self esteem and resilience in children.
In a drama class children work collaboratively and need to negotiate with others to create plays for performance. Not every child has a 'main part' which can be received poorly by parents and children alike (though most experienced students don't worry about it). I explain to parents and children that every part, big or small, is vital to the success of any performance. This was highlighted recently when one of the little boys was sick and couldn't make the dress rehearsal of a show. He was determined not to let his class mates down, so he came to the evening performance. During the dress rehearsal the other class members easily covered for the missing boy but the whole play fell flat. When Alex turned up for the evening show, the play was fantastic. Losing the energy and presence of one child made a huge difference to how the play was performed. Both Alex and his class mates showed great resilience in dealing with the challenges of illness and having one class member away for the important dress rehearsal. There wasn't a whisper of a complaint and they all got on with the job at hand. In fact they ended up wining best play and went through to the finals where they won in the best director category
In speech classes students are required to compete in local Eisteddfods. These Eisteddfods require students to deal with their nerves when performing in a competitive environment. Some students and parents are only focused on the prize and forget to enjoy the journey. What happens when the gifted child who always wins doesn't?? Who do they blame? Themselves? Their parents? The adjudicator? Their teacher? I always encourage my students to give their absolute best. If they bring home some 'bling' (in the form of a trophy) then that is wonderful. If not well "them's the breaks" and there is always next year.
You see, parents can't protect their children from failing, or protect them from life's challenges all the time. And what does it mean to your child to fail anyway? It means your child has a great opportunity to learn from the situation and work on strategies to move forward. Success in built on failure, as it is when we fail we learn the most. Success also comes to those who are most resilient.