Resilience in Children: How Parental Support Helps Develop This Essential Skill

Peace at Home June 20, 2023 | Stephanie Rondeau

Everyone is met with challenging situations in their lives, including children. However, not everyone responds to stressors in the same way. What is it that allows some people to cope with difficult situations while others really struggle? 

Those who are able to bounce back from a difficult situation, allowing themselves to grow and learn from the experience, have a high level of resilience.Others who have developed less resilience may avoid a problem altogether or may be unable to mentally or emotionally bounce back from problems. 

A high level of resilience helps you to be more driven in school and more motivated to complete difficult projects. You’re more likely to show a high level of empathy for others, and you also feel a strong sense of hope for your future and believe in your ability to overcome challenges. 

So how can you nurture this important asset of resilience in your kids? Research shows that family atmosphere really matters. Specifically, resilience is strengthened when children are raised with encouragement and warm, positive, supportive parenting approaches.

On the other hand, a negative family environment is shown to decrease a child’s sense of hope, diminish their self esteem and independence, and may lead kids to more behavior problems as well as a decreased sense of self-worth. 

There are some practical strategies that you can use to increase resilience in your child, and it all starts at home. Consider the following steps to nurture this important skill:

  • Strengthen your parent-child connection. Take time regularly to connect with your child, offering empathy and listening to their questions, problems and concerns. Learn to coach your child to find solutions to their difficulties. When children feel seen and heard at home, they develop a sense of psychological safety. They are then better able to form meaningful, positive, trusting relationships with others outside of your home. 
  • Improve autonomy through age-appropriate tasks. A child who is able to complete tasks on their own, however easy or routine, will feel more able to tackle more difficult tasks later on. By doing everything for your child, they may develop a sense of helplessness or dependency, weakening their ability to tackle problems on their own as they grow. 
  • Stick to a daily routine. Routines throughout the day help a child feel safe at home. That feeling of psychological safety allows them to mentally cope when problems arise both in and outside of your home. 
  • Encourage goal setting. Help your child make reasonable, attainable goals, both short term and long term. By creating smaller goals, or “checkpoints” along the way, you will help your child to track their progress and improve their belief in their ability to problem solve. This may help them feel confident tackling more complex issues in the future.  
  • Keep things in perspective. When life presents challenges, it can be easy to hyperfocus on the negative. By trying to maintain a positive outlook overall and modeling this for your child, you can nurture your child’s sense of hope. Even when things are difficult, help your child see that positive change is possible beyond the current situation. 

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