Resilience — natural or learned — can help your child cope with life’s ups and downs
Every school day presents challenges for your child. What with sporting events, understanding new concepts, academic challenges, managing difficult social situations, peer pressure, failures and setbacks, your child has plenty to contend with. Your child’s ability to handle these situations will depend on their resilience. Building resilience in young people is vital for good mental health and wellbeing and the bottom line is that resilient kids bounce back.
Some children are naturally resilient; their disposition doesn’t allow them to be fazed by disappointments and setbacks. Such kids just get up, dust themselves off and keep going. But what about those children who are not naturally resilient?
The good news is that resilience can be learnt and parents can foster resilience in their children.
Being resilient doesn’t mean people suddenly lead charmed lives, magically experiencing no difficulties and distress. It just means that when life throws them a curve ball, they have the skills and techniques to cope with the circumstances.
Developing resilience in your child will mean building on a variety of strategies. A combination of factors contributes to resilience. Things like having supportive relationships, good role models, self-esteem, self-confidence, communication and problem-solving skills are all important.
You can help your child become more resilient by:
Promoting resilience in your child will not be an overnight activity, but more like a continuing process. Ups and downs are a normal part of daily life and allowing your children to cope with them without continually bailing them out will encourage them to be more resilient each time. But it is all a matter of balance. Pick your battles and move boundaries a little at a time. It is not about leaving your child to sink or swim in the deep-end of the pool. It is about encouraging play and learning in safe waters along the way, thereby building the skills necessary to safely cope as the waters rise and the challenges get more difficult.
Image: St Catherine’s School.
Words: Donna Macpherson-Williams