Building Resilient Children

Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things aren’t going right.  Resilience is persistence and not giving up.  Being resilient gives a person the sense of being somewhat in control, not a situation of learnt helplessness. Everyone throughout their life is going to face adversity at one stage or another.  Resilient people are better able to deal with this.  In general people who are resilient have better mental health and it minimises them being victims of bulling.  For these reasons it is important that as parents and teachers, we build resilience.

In an age of political correctness we regularly quash opportunities to build resilience.  When children are young everyone gets a prize at the birthday party or everyone gets a certificate at the school sports.  This is not a realistic representation of life and often sets children up for disappointment in the future.  Children need to understand that not everyone can win and that we all have different skills.  It is important for teachers and parents to guide children through the disappointment of not being the best.  Acknowledging effort rather than outcome is vital in doing this.

Building independence builds both confidence and resilience.  It is important that adults don’t solve problems for children but talk through options with them and help them to solve their own problems.  While doing this be optimistic and ensure that emotions are acknowledged and discussed.  Once a solution has been reached, help the child to implement it.  For example, get them to talk to the teacher and you be their as back up.

Give children and especially teenagers the right to an opinion and the stage to voice that opinion.  Sometimes parents and teachers will act on this idea but other times they won’t.  Young people need to realise that is ok.  Students also need to be responsible.  They should be given jobs around the house which they are to do without monetary reward.  They need to complete their tasks because they are part of a family and everyone has a role to play.  This is real life.  Young people need to realise that at times work needs to be completed without immediate reward and not to feel depressed or victimised because of this.

Regular routines including bedtimes helps build resilience as it gives a sense of stability.  Regular shared meals and time with the family gives children a sense of belonging, which is an essential part of resilience.  Belonging to multiple groups also builds confidence and self worth.  Belonging to a family, friendship group, school and perhaps sporting club gives positive affirmation from numerous sources.  If one has a bad day at school, they may win their basketball game which helps keep everything in balance and perspective.

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