Building Resilience in Children

The world can be a frightening place. As a parent, I am constantly aware of choices that I make to minimize my perception of fear and uncertainty. Death, illness, divorce, crime, war, child abductions, tsunamis, and terrorism — both here and abroad — have defined an evolving landscape for raising our families. How do we manage to parent from a place of love and understanding, not fear and paranoia?

It’s not possible to protect our children from the ups and downs of life. Raising resilient children, however, is possible and can provide them with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood and to navigate successfully in adulthood. Despite our best efforts, we cannot prevent adversity and daily stress; but we can learn to be more resilient by changing how we think about challenges and adversities.

Today’s families, especially our children, are under tremendous stress with the potential to damage both physical health and psychological well-being.

The stress comes from families who are always on the go, who are overscheduled with extracurricular activities, and ever-present peer pressure. In the teen years, the anxiety and pressure are related to getting into “the” college.

In today’s environment, children and teens need to develop strengths, acquire skills to cope, recover from hardships, and be prepared for future challenges. They need to be resilient in order to succeed in life.

That is why Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D., MS Ed, FAAP, a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has joined forces with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to author A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings. The new book provides a dynamic resource to help parents and caregivers build resilience in children, teens, and young adults.

Dr. Ginsburg has identified seven “C”s of resilience, recognizing that “resilience isn’t a simple, one-part entity.” Parents can use these guidelines to help their children recognize their abilities and inner resources.

Competence

Competence describes the feeling of knowing that you can handle a situation effectively. We can help the development of competence by:

  • Helping children focus on individual strengths
  • Focusing any identified mistakes on specific incidents
  • Empowering children to make decisions
  • Being careful that your desire to protect your child doesn’t mistakenly send a message that you don’t think he or she is competent to handle things
  • Recognizing the competencies of siblings individually and avoiding comparisons

Confidence

A child’s belief in his own abilities is derived from competence. Build confidence by:

  • Focusing on the best in each child so that he or she can see that, as well
  • Clearly expressing the best qualities, such as fairness, integrity, persistence, and kindness
  • Recognizing when he or she has done well
  • Praising honestly about specific achievements; not diffusing praise that may lack authenticity
  • Not pushing the child to take on more than he or she can realistically handle

Connection

Developing close ties to family and community creates a solid sense of security that helps lead to strong values and prevents alternative destructive paths to love and attention. You can help your child connect with others by:

  • Building a sense of physical safety and emotional security within your home
  • Allowing the expression of all emotions, so that kids will feel comfortable reaching out during difficult times
  • Addressing conflict openly in the family to resolve problems
  • Creating a common area where the family can share time (not necessarily TV time)
  • Fostering healthy relationships that will reinforce positive messages

To continue reading follow this link:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/Building-Resilience-in-Children.aspx