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Teaching Kids to be Resilient

Resilience is the ability to overcome serious hardship, adverse childhood experiences and debilitating personal trauma. As a parent, you wish your child could be happy all the time. However, life being what it is, everyone will face many adverse challenges and the best thing we can do as parents is to teach them resilience – to overcome and persist in the face of hardships.

Resilience is somewhat dependent on personality, temperament, the extent of the hardships the child has faced in his life so far. However, resilience can be taught and strengthened with practice.

Some techniques to consider:

Make sure the child has strong relationships. Your child needs the foundation of a secure relationship with a parent or parents, as well a,s with friends, extended family and a supportive community in order to build resilience.

Teach your child to problem solve. Don’t jump in to fix all the problems and remove all obstacles. Don’t do their homework or their science project. Guide them towards the right answer, rather than solving the problem for them. Problem-solving is an essential life skill.

Allow them to fail in a safe way. Don’t protect your child from all failure, rather teach them to work through it and persist. If they believe things will always go their way, they will not learn how to cope in the face of uncertainty.

Don’t be overprotective. You can’t protect your child from everything. Encourage them try new things, even if they’re not very good at it. Some children avoid trying things they won’t be the best at. Teach them it’s alright to have fun doing things, even if you do them badly. Model that kind of bravery.

Teach your child to self-regulate. Help them become aware of triggers and teach them adaptive skills. Explore actions and therapies that will help your child manage his emotions and outbursts.

Model a positive outlook on life. If you are hopeful and optimistic, your child will try to emulate that. Show your child how you work through problems in your own life and how you manage to keep going.

Be a constant source of support and encouragement.  Your child will feel more confident if he feels that someone will always have his back.

Resources

  1. “Resilience guide for parents and teachers” (apa.org)

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