How to build resilience in children: Tips for parents
The journey from adolescence to adulthood is marked by challenges – pressures of academic success, peer relationships, career aspirations, inclination for intimate relationships, need for autonomy and experimentation, changing family dynamics, and the ever-evolving digital landscape. These can take a toll on young minds. That is why it is important to know how to build resilience in children.
Children can go through emotional setbacks that lead them towards unhealthy coping mechanisms such as use of substance, conflicts, school dropout and increase vulnerability towards anxiety, depression, substance use and attempts of suicide as well.
To counteract these challenges, it’s crucial to focus on ways to build resilience in children, equipping them with the tools they need to navigate life’s ups and downs.
What is resilience?
Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity, adapt to change, and thrive despite challenging circumstances. It’s not about avoiding difficulties, but rather about developing the capacity to effectively cope with and learn from them. Resilience is not a static trait. Instead, it is a skill that can be cultivated and strengthened over time.
What are the ways to build resilience in children?
1. Improve parent-child bonding
Parents and guardians should actively listen and engage in non-judgmental conversations, validating the emotions and experiences of young individuals. It has been seen that when young people know they have a reliable support system, they are more likely to reach out for help when needed. Youth should be encouraged to communicate their thoughts and feelings with these individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and security. Knowing that they are not alone in their struggles can provide comfort and encouragement during difficult times and build resilience. Set boundaries on their device usage and encourage them to engage in offline activities can help them disconnect and focus on developing real-world connections, which are essential for building resilience.
2. Cultivate healthy coping skills
Educating youth to prioritize their physical, emotional, and mental well-being sends the message that their health matters. Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, mindfulness practises, deep breathing exercises, journaling and engaging in creative outlets like art or music can all serve as healthy ways to process emotions and promote self-care. They can build resilience by strengthening their overall well-being. Also, teaching them to identify their feelings and expressing them in a constructive ways can prevent emotional suppression and promote emotional intelligence.
3. Make it normal to talk about failures
It is important that youngsters are taught to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a reflection of their self worth. When they understand that setbacks are part of the learning process, and do not define them, they are more likely to persevere and remain optimistic even in the face of adversity. That is one of the most important ways to promote resilience in children.
4. Encourage realistic goals and expectation setting
Children should be guided in setting both short-term and long-term goals, whether they are related to academics, hobbies or personal development. The sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving these goals can boost their confidence and resilience. Unrealistic expectations can lead to feelings of inadequacy and stress in children. It is crucial to set goals that are attainable and aligned with a youth’s individual strengths and interests.
5. Find a supportive school and college environment
Schools and colleges play a significant role in youth development. It is necessary that they conduct programs to promote emotional intelligence, mental health awareness, celebrate failures and anti-bullying initiatives. These can reduce pressure and increase well-being. Educators can also be trained to recognise signs of struggling students and provide the necessary resources.
6. Seek professional help
While building resilience is crucial, it is important to acknowledge that some situations require professional intervention. If a young individual is experiencing persistent feelings of depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges, seeking help from a qualified mental health professional is essential.
The last word
Enhancing mental health by fostering resilience in children is a multi-faceted approach that requires collective effort from parents, educators, and society as a whole. As we invest in their resilience, we invest in their ability to lead fulfilling lives with strong mental and emotional well-being.