Kids & Mental Health

Resilience & Kids

What is Resilience and how can we nurture it in our kids to help them navigate through their childhood & later years?

Resilience refers to how someone can “bounce back” when faced with a challenging situation.  Kids’ lives aren’t exactly stress free as we adults sometime forget.  They take tests, are constantly learning new information, encounter bullies, sometimes must change schools, make new friends and face other like things such as childhood illnesses.

Some kids are naturally “resilient” in that they are problem solvers and thrive when faced with tough situations, whilst others will need a helping hand along the way.  Factors that influence the development of resilience in kids include their temperament and behaviours, parenting styles and their general health and wellbeing. 

Below are a few tips on how to raise resilient kids

  • Don’t accommodate their every need or try to eliminate all risk. Teach your kids to problem solve.  Brainstorm strategies to help them work through whatever challenge they are facing.  Give them the opportunity to find and figure out what works for them.
  • Teach your child to try to keep things in perspective so that when faced with whatever challenge, you’ll have encouraged them to maintain a sense of optimism. This will only continue to benefit them throughout adolescence and adulthood.
  • Change can be scary and daunting for kids and adults alike. Our son over the last 18 months has had quite a lot of change in his young life having lost his grandfather and not long after his great grandmother as well as changing schools.  Having taught him from a young age about life’s uncertainties, we believe, enabled him to roll with the punches a little easier.
  • Teach your kids how best to handle their emotions and that emotions are ok. It’s ok that you’re angry because you came in last playing Fortnite or that your baby cousins pulled apart the Lego you’d spent hours building.  Teach them that after feeling what they’re feeling, to take time to think about what they’ll be doing next.  In our sons’ case, I empathise saying that “I understand how you’re feeling, I’d likely feel that way too if I were I your shoes but now you have to figure out the best way to move forward and past your anger”. 

I’m sure most of us remember the many trials and tribulations of our childhoods through to our adulthood and now in parenthood.  Parenting is bloody hard, takes a lot of patience and the reality is that at one time or another we are going to screw up.  What do we do?  We resiliently get back up on the horse and try again as my nanna used to say.

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