16 Oct Tips for building resilience in children
As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to start building resilience in children.
Resilience is the ability to deal with challenges or difficult situations in a positive manner. It may also be described as having a strong sense of self, not being personally affected by negative circumstances and having the ability to cope when things go wrong.
Building resilience within children and young adults is especially important as it helps them to deal with stress and cope with rough times; making them tougher and more resistant to adversity.
How can we help our kids to build resilience?
We all know that life isn’t always smooth sailing and having the tools to deal with difficult situations is a critical part of getting through life.
Regardless of how much you might try to protect your kids, you can never fully protect them from things like exam stress, fitting in at a new school, overcoming a bully, losing touch with close friends or dealing with the divorce of their parents. When these things happen, young people need to be armed with coping strategies and problem-solving skills in order to bounce back from hardship.
Strategies for building resilience in children
Build a supportive environment
It’s important that your child knows they have your full support when they’re going through a tough time. Having a strong support base at home encourages young people to try to tackle challenges on their own, with the knowledge that you’re there if things don’t go to plan.
This doesn’t mean running to their rescue and trying to solve their problems, but rather being there to catch them if they fall. To strengthen their resilience, kids need to actually go through the tough times in order to learn how to cope on their own.
Teach them how to solve problems
While it’s absolutely okay for kids to ask for your help, it’s more beneficial to them if we can work out solutions with our kids rather than telling them what they need to do.
Talk about the issue together and ask them questions on how they think it would best be handled. Get them to consider the pros and cons of their answers and have them come to a conclusion based on these points.
Let them know it’s okay to fail
Failure is the result of having tried. Without the knowledge that it’s okay to fail, many kids get stuck in an anxious mind-loop of either passing and failing – and those odds are simply too high. So rather than giving things a go, they tend to avoid uncertain situations entirely. Not only is this a difficult way to live your life, but it also opens the door to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
To ensure your kids are comfortable giving things their best shot, let them know that it’s okay to fail and encourage them even when they do so that they feel confident in having a go the next time.
Talk about the uncomfortable emotions
When coping with stress or other difficult situations, it’s completely natural to feel uncomfortable emotions such as loneliness, worthlessness, anxiety and even anger. Rather than pushing these emotions down where they might fester, encourage your kids to voice how they’re feeling and have an honest chat about why they might be feeling that way.
Understanding the reasoning behind emotions can help to take the power away from them and having a chat with a respected adult or parent is a great way for them to know they’re not alone.
Resilience is a variety of skills, and one of those skills is optimism. Try to get your child to think about any positive result that might come from their bad experience, no matter how obscure it may be.
Of course, some kids are naturally more pessimistic than others so you might need to work a little harder to acknowledge and understand their pessimistic pattern before helping them to adopt a different thought process.
Discussing resilience with your kids
When working with your kids to help develop their resilience, there are a number of other things that can help them feel more comfortable dealing with challenges and difficult situations. Some of the things you can talk to them about can include:
- Accepting what you can’t change and changing what you can
- Learning from your experiences to be better the next time
- Not being disheartened if you fail; be proud that you tried
- Work on developing your problem solving skills
- Take part in sports or meditation to help develop feelings of calmness
- Be comfortable asking for help when you need it
Raising resilient children with Veteran Mentors
Building life skills is an important part of growing up; without them, it can be difficult to navigate the challenges and hardships that inevitably arise throughout life.
At the Veteran Mentors, we teach resilience, respect and courage among other essential skills in order to encourage our kids to become more comfortable and confident. Through arming them with these tools, they’ll learn the ability to bounce back and keep moving forward when difficult situations come their way.
If you need help building resilience in your children, learn more about our military-style boot camp for kids.