Tips for Raising Resilient Kids

Being a kid can be tough. Between peer pressure, schoolwork stress, and friend troubles, children and adolescents are not immune to the ups and downs of daily life. You can’t always protect kids from these challenges. But you can nurture your children’s resilience to help them respond to the challenges of adolescence and successfully navigate in adulthood.

Different Components of Resilience

Resilience isn’t a one-dimensional characteristic. As you teach your children how to recognize their inner resources and recover from hardships, keep in mind the seven factors of resilience:

  1. Competence—the feeling of knowing you can handle a situation

  2. Confidence—the belief in your own abilities

  3. Character—the development of a solid set of morals and values

  4. Coping—the ability to handle stress effectively

  5. Contribution—the knowledge that the world is a better place because you are in it

  6. Control—the awareness that you determine the outcomes of your decisions

  7. Connection—the sense of security from close ties to family and community

How Parents Can Show Support

By encouraging your child’s ability to bounce back after a hardship, you provide ways for him or her to cope with stress and tough situations. Take the following steps to play an active role in developing your child’s resilience:

  • Model a positive attitude. Kids will learn from how you handle difficult situations. Let them see an “I can do it” attitude. Remind your child, and yourself, that the current issue is temporary and things will get better.

  • Help your child set goals. Promote realistic goals in school, sports, and life in general. Teach children to work toward goals one step at a time—small steps can develop confidence and resilience.

  • Build connections. Take time to eat and talk together as a family. Encourage your child to make good friends. Creating strong, loving connections will help ensure that your child has support in times of trouble.

  • Highlight your child’s strengths. Comment frequently on what your child does well to help build his or her confidence. Specifically point out when children exhibit qualities such as kindness, integrity, and persistence.

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