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5 WAYS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS RESILIENCE

February 5, 2024by Lauren0

In today’s world, it’s becoming more and more difficult to navigate the ever-changing landscape of society. As a result, it’s essential that we teach our children how to be resilient as possible. They will undoubtedly meet people who have different beliefs and opinions. They will be put in situations where their beliefs and ideals are questioned.

It is up to you, as parents, to teach them how to be resilient enough to face those individuals and maintain their individual identity and beliefs. They need to be able to stand up for themselves and their beliefs and all the while, maintain their mental and emotional balance.

What Is Resilience?

True resilience comes from being able to go through a variety of tests that challenge your strengths while rising up and meeting whatever is coming at you with grace and dignity. Just like a large tree branch that moves with the wind but doesn’t break, teaching children resilience is the best way to prepare them for many of the challenges they may face in life.

The more resilient a child is, the better equipped he or she will be to handle whatever life throws at them. Resilient kids grow into adults who can withstand life’s storm and come out better for the experience.

Why Is It So Important for Kids to Be Resilient?

Part of being resilient is understanding how to assess a situation, then using problem-solving skills to find a way to make things work. The  stress placed on getting good grades or being the best on the athletic field has skyrocketed over the last few decades. Contrary to what’s being taught on the field, it isn’t always about winning. It’s about doing your best and learning from the result.

Win or lose, there are life lessons to be gained. For kids to be successful in this anxiety-ridden world, they have to be prepared for any situation they may face. They must be able to look stress in the eye and accept whatever challenge is offered.

What Can Happen Without Resilience?

Children who are not given good coping skills can eventually begin to exhibit a list of signs and symptoms that something is amiss. Students who have never been taught how to handle stressful situations will sometimes begin to act out in ways.

Breaking the law, abusing drugs or alcohol, anger issues, depression, anxiety, and poor mental health are all possible if a child begins to lose his perspective or struggles to cope. Teaching children resilience at an early age and showing them empathy can be a more proactive and compassionate approach, better preparing them for challenges that will inevitably arise.

One such challenge is trauma.

Resilience and post-traumatic growth sometimes are thought to be connected, but they’re different things, in fact. Resiliency is that ability to bounce back, but post-traumatic growth is when someone grows more resilient after they’ve struggled through something traumatic. It’s usually an experience that can shake them to their core and is linked to psychological troubles like post-traumatic stress disorder.

A person can emerge from trauma stronger and more resilient (hence it being called post-traumatic growth). A child who has developed (or developing) resilience is not so likely to be rocked to their core when encountering trauma.

Five Ways Parents Can Teach Resilience

There are many ways to teach a child to be resilient. Learning to value themselves and their skills is extremely important. The following methods of teaching resilience will not only help your child become stronger, but will help you as well. By practicing these tasks on your own, you will be setting a positive example for your child to follow.

Teach Self-Care for Good Health and Well-Being

The first step when it comes to being resilient is to practice self-care for good physical health and emotional well-being. Children who are able to make themselves a priority when it comes to their health are laying a positive foundation for their future. That can serve as a better alternative to that “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality.

Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude will allow children to be mindful of the opportunities they receive. Every experience offers some type of lesson that will allow them to continue to grow and move forward. One of the best ways to practice gratitude with your child is to share what you have with others.

Encourage Goal Setting

Setting goals allows your child to define his or her own path for their future. It’s important to set both small and large goals so that each type can be met at different intervals. Reaching milestones on the way to achieving larger goals makes the journey much easier and will give your child the encouragement and motivation they need to keep moving forward.

Maintain Perspective

Perspective can easily be lost if a child is pushed too aggressively or made to feel anxious or upset. Instead of using forceful or negative behavior, teach through positive reactions and encourage your child to do the best they can. Life offers lessons to be learned in whatever capacity they are presented.

Encourage Positive Emotions

An important part of being resilient is learning to find positives in whatever situation you may find yourself in. Children will experience negative emotions. It’s essential, however, to guide them back to center using positive reinforcement whenever possible. We all experience negativity, but how we react to it is up to us. Responding in a positive way with a solution to the problem will slow the negativity and encourage everyone involved to move forward.

Teaching your children how to be resilient is the best way to counter poor or troubling behavior. It can also be a way to overcome trauma and other challenges in more productive ways.

Resilient children are less likely to be depressed or have anxiety issues. They are more likely to be the first to offer help to a student who may not be part of the “in” crowd. Resilient students are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. (Being willing to seek help via therapy, for example, as opposed to resorting to self-medicating behaviors that only tend to mask the issues at hand.) Raising children who have positive attitudes starts with teaching resilience and setting a good example for them to follow.

Sources

hpri.fullerton.edu – Kids Can Cope: Parenting Resilient Children at Home and at School

cbc.ca – 5 Ways to Build Your Child’s Resilience in an Anxious World

apa.org – Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers

apa.org – Growth after trauma 

theguardian.com – Six ways to raise a resilient child

blog.pearsoninternationalschools.com – 5 Ways to Build Resilience in Students

sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Westminster Rehab Centers / Top Rehabs in Westminster, Colorado

Introducing Heidi Bisoli


Grounded Resilience will be partnering with Heidi Bisoli every few months to bring you fresh content on mental health topics to increase awareness and reduce stigma. Heidi Bitsoli has been a content writer with Sunshine Behavioral Health since 2019, where she researches and writes articles, guides, and blog posts on mental health and addiction. Prior to that, she wrote extensively on health, medicine, business, and human interest topics for a variety of clients. Her writings have appeared in numerous university publications, magazines, newspapers, and websites. She has a degree in English from Lake Superior State University in northern Michigan. A lifelong lover of learning, she enjoys researching and writing about the complexities of mental health.

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