Viw Magazine


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Kids can really feel the stress of life because they have so little control over what happens to them. Adults fighting, family divorce, blended families, moving house, these are all life-impacting events that are completely out of their control. So how do we put them in charge?

The one thing kids and teenagers can control and get an absolute say over is their emotions, which is why lashing out in anger and frustration can feel so rewarding to them, even if the results are negative ones. Teaching your kids to manage their emotions gives them the ability to stop being overwhelmed and find a solution. In short, they are learning to build their resilience through learning what they can manage and control in their life instead of becoming fixated on the things they can’t.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is about being about to dust yourself off after a setback and keep on going. Kids who have resilience believe that if they put in enough flexibility and effort they can get to their destination no matter what shakes up the road ahead.

While the struggles kids face can feel crippling at the time, they can go on to build strength, compassion and shape themselves into amazing adults… when they can see the benefits of the situation as a lesson, and not get lost in the pain.

Resilience includes:

  • * Giving something another go, even if the first time didn't go very well

  • Moving up to a harder level where they may fail (but also learn) instead of sticking to a known result

  • Looking forward to new experiences and challenges

  • Putting in your best effort even if it’s not going to result in an A+ or a win

  • Feeling strong and capable even if the situation at hand is difficult

  • Getting curious about how things work and how far they can go

Where Does Resilience Come From?

You might be familiar with the scientific argument of Nature versus Nurture, well the truth is it’s a mix of both. Resilience partly comes from genetics and a child’s individual personality, but also through their surrounding environment and what they are exposed to in their family life and community.

If a child is given consistent messages that it’s okay to stretch out into new territory and make mistakes to learn new skills and abilities, they will naturally start to embrace new situations and apply problem-solving skills to a wide range of situations. As this happens their self-belief and confidence grow as well as their positive mindset that learning is fun and possible.

How to Build Resilience in Children

  1. Talk about emotions

Emotions might seem pretty straightforward from an adult point of view, we’ve had years of experience, but to kids, emotions can be big and overwhelming experiences that take over their body. Start by encouraging your child to name the emotion and talking about how they feel inside, for example, a child might tell you that sadness feels like a big dark cloud in their chest. Naming and explaining these feelings is a way for kids to understand them and feel more accepting of what is happening to their bodies.

  1. Let them know you have their back

When kids have a loving supporting network behind them they feel safe about reaching into the unknown and seeing what happens. In fact, the common factor behind kids who have strong resilience is a secure and supportive relationship with a parent. The more support and love they have, the safer they will feel about taking risks and attempting difficult tasks.

  1. Challenge your kids

When kids feel confident in their ability to handle a problem they will be excited about trying something outside their comfort zone. The more they stretch their ability the greater the skills they build for how to handle new tasks and even just feel confident about being in a new situation.

In difficult times children can resort to stress, fear, anger and acting out which is damaging to themselves as well as everyone around them. Building resilience is one of the most important factors in mental health therapy for children to give them tools to manage their emotions and take control of their actions and outcomes rather than allowing stress to escalate to serious conditions like anxiety or depression.


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