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Parenting on Purpose - Helping Children Build Resilience


Resilience can be defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. People who are resilient

still feel pain, sadness, or anger, but they are able to cope with, and manage this, while getting

on with their lives.


Why is it important to help our children build resilience?

  • It can help them adapt to a new classroom or school,

  • It buffers them against bullying,

  • It promotes more favourable outcomes if there is an adverse home environment.

The American Psychological Association has outlined 10 tips for building resilience in children

and teens:

1. Make connections

Teach children to connect with peers using skills such as empathy and active listening. A

strong family network is equally important. This provides social support and strengthens

resilience.

2. Have them help others

Helping others may foster feelings of empowerment in children who feel helpless and

powerless. Engage your child in age-appropriate volunteer activities and encourage

them to participate in school peer support opportunities.

3. Maintain a daily routine

This can be comforting for your child. Schedules and consistency, especially during

times of distress or transition, are important for your child to feel safe and secure.

4. Take a break

Allow free time for your child to just be. Sit with them and acknowledge their feelings

over whatever has happened during the day. Encourage them to focus on something

they can control or act on.

5. Teach your child self-care

Model this yourself, make sure there is time for fun, and help them live a balanced life

with good habits.

6. Move towards your goals

Help children set goals they can work towards. Break larger goals into smaller and more

manageable chunks.

7. Nurture a positive self-view

Focus on their strengths and remind them of past successes in handling stress or

conflict. Teach them to build on that and trust themselves to be able to manage future

challenges as well.

8. Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook

Optimism, positivity and hopefulness help children remember that there are good times

after bad, and that bad times don’t last forever. Look beyond the current situation and

take in the broader context to help maintain perspective.

9. Look for opportunities for self-discovery

Tough times are usually when children learn the most about themselves. Lead a

discussion about what they may have learnt after facing a tough situation.

10. Accept change

Change is a part of life and not necessarily a bad thing. New goals can replace goals

that have become unattainable.


Resilience is a personal journey, and you should use your own knowledge of your children to

help guide you on this journey with them. Talk to your child about your own feelings during times

of extraordinary stress. Be sure to share with them the ways you cope with these challenges.

Above all, listen and acknowledge. Your support is paramount in helping them build resilience

too.

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