We all experience difficulties throughout our lives. Others may hurt us, we may fail or we might feel that we aren’t good enough. While the challenges we face in life can bring us down and leave us feeling helpless, it’s so important we have the strength to adapt and pick ourselves back up.
Adolescence can be fraught with challenges that test our resilience, including friendship changes, bullying and changes to the family structure. The positive side to this is that resilience is a skill that can be learned and each challenge we face presents an opportunity for growth.
Several decades of research have shown that at least one stable and supportive relationship with a caregiver or adult during development is the single most important factor to the development of resilience following adversity1. We understand that as parents, it can be very challenging to help your child learn to bounce back in the face of adversity. However, the role of caregivers is essential to the development of strong, resilient children.
At Standing Strong, one of our goals is to empower parents with the tools to raise strong and resilient children. Below are some of our top tips which you can share with your child to build confidence and resilience.
Our top tips to build resilience:
Taking a moment to look at things from an outside perspective is integral to building resilience. Ask your child whether their current challenges or difficulties will matter in a year or even 6 months’ time. Perspective can encourage us to not feel down for too long.
- Keep learning and growing
It is important that children understand that they are always growing. Encourage your child to stay focussed on the exciting ways they are growing, where they are going and what they want for their future. It is important that difficult times don’t hold us down from reaching our goals or moving forward.
- Connection with others
Spending time with the people we love is so important, particularly when we are feeling challenged or helpless. Try to encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling, reassure them that they are not alone and be mindful of behaviours such as social withdrawal.
- Positive self-talk and affirmations
The words that we tell ourselves are powerful. Encourage your child to pay attention to how they speak to themselves and replace negative words with positive and empowering ones. For example, “today has been the worst day ever” can be replaced with “tomorrow will be a better day”.
The challenges adolescence brings can leave children feeling down and hopeless. It’s important children and teens feel supported and empowered to face their challenges, to emerge stronger and more resilient. Our tips offer a helpful starting point.
If you are looking for more support, our online platform STRONhttps://standingstrongonline.com/G provides a community for children, teens and parents as well as resources to build emotional wellbeing and an empowerment mindset. You can also visit our locations page on our website to find a Standing Strong club near you.
If you feel your child may be struggling with their mental health, we encourage that you seek help from your GP about options for psychological therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy or counselling.
- Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience: Working Paper No. 13. 2015.
Author: Elizabeth Evans & Kim Smith