How to Raise Resilient Kids

How to Raise Resilient Kids


How often have you told yourself to just let it go? How many times have you “bounced back” after a difficult situation or struggle? While we all confront problems in life, our resilience, or capacity to adapt and cope with challenging events, is what allows us to move forward effectively.

Even as youngsters, we might face difficulties. In the same way, emotions like Sadness, tension, and anxiety can feel overwhelming to children as well. Bullying, relocating to a new place, and dealing with domestic issues may all be daunting for them at times. The world is complex, and there is no way to predict what will happen, but you can educate your children on how to develop resilience from human emotions.

What is resilience?

Resilience has been characterized as having favourable solutions in the face of adversity or stress, being generally resistant to psychosocial risk exposures, and developing competence despite persistent stress. While the language varies, these explanations include the two essential aspects required for defining resilience: first, the experience of adversity or stress, and second, the accomplishment of positive results during or after adversity.

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According to current research, resilience is primarily defined as the process by which individuals rely on personal qualities and environmental resources to survive and navigate adversity—a dynamic process that occurs across contexts and throughout one’s life. Resilience may be examined within an ecological framework, with risk and protective elements existing inside an individual and in their proximal settings: 

A variety of characteristics have been identified as mediums for developing resilience throughout adolescence and adulthood. Individual elements include coping style, cognition, optimism, self-esteem, positive family ties or social connectedness, and community characteristics like school participation, church attendance, or support groups.

So far, most resilience research has focused on adult or teenage resilience to trauma or other forms of adversity (even if the experience occurred in infancy).  While there is scant research on characteristics that promote resilience in middle childhood (5-12 years old). Also, some people think of resilience as just mental and emotional strength,  but there are four forms of resilience:

Emotional, mental, physical, and social 

Emotional resilience

Emotional resilience is defined as the ability to control emotions under stress. It teaches children how and why they feel particular emotions at times of worry, suffering, loss, or trauma. Emotional resilience allows youngsters to regulate their emotions in a healthy, constructive manner. Instead of throwing a tantrum, a young child with emotional resilience may communicate their way out of a situation. A child’s emotional resilience may manifest in attributes such as optimism, acceptance, and tenacity. It helps kids understand that painful feelings and the problems they face will not persist forever.

Mental resilience

Mental resilience, also known as psychological resilience, is the mental ability to adapt and cope with hardship and uncertainty. It is frequently paired with the phrase “mental fortitude” or the ability to focus on and execute solutions when faced with difficult situations. 

Physical resilience

Physical resilience refers to your body’s capacity to adapt and respond to physical stressors such as accidents, injury, or sickness. It regulates how your body recovers itself. You might guess that physical resilience plays an important part in health, and thankfully, you can teach and encourage good habits in youngsters. Teaching children the benefits of a healthy diet, frequent exercise, and adequate sleep can help them build physical resilience.

Social Resilience

Social resilience is the ability to connect with others and collaborate to handle challenges that impact individuals and communities. In early childhood’s educational context, this can appear as a child’s capacity to be social and form friendships. When children start at a new daycare facility or classroom in the middle of the year, they may experience worry and tension as they miss their old friends and want to create new ones. Socially resilient youngsters can overcome these emotions and try to make friends. Another example of social resilience is someone in the class who makes an effort to befriend the new student.

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Process of Resilience Building 

Resilience theory is a framework for researching and analyzing how individuals respond to and adapt to difficulties and adversity. This idea also explains why resilience is not a fixed attribute. It can be strengthened even in childhood. Resilience may be compared to muscular groups in the body. Some muscles, such as the hamstrings in the legs, are generally stronger than the biceps in the arms.

Similarly, youngsters may display greater resilience for one difficulty than for another. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to increasing muscular mass or resilience. The process is complex and individualistic; nonetheless, numerous factors influence how successfully people adapt to adversity.  

The most common are:

  • How people see and interact with the world
  • The quantity and quality of social resources
  • Specific coping mechanisms

Improving and practising resilience with children helps lay a solid yet adaptable foundation for being a balanced, healthy adult.

Why is resilience important?

Realizing and comprehending that we cannot control everything in life should begin in early infancy. Each day, children encounter new problems. They may have had experiences ranging from relocating to different places to dealing with family bereavement or having an adverse childhood experience (ACE), such as abuse or violence.

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Resilience is crucial because it enables children to comprehend and overcome adversity. Resilient youngsters may recover from failures, gain confidence, and improve their capacity to deal when circumstances are beyond their control. A lack of resilience can result in undesirable coping techniques like isolation or avoidance, which can persist throughout adulthood.

When children acquire resilience, they are less likely to experience anxiety or sadness, and they engage in more social activities. Building resilience in children provides them with the emotional and social resources they need to continue functioning productively.

How to Develop Resilience in Youngsters

Adversity and challenges are not age-specific. Stress, worry, sadness, and other emotions are all possible for young children. That’s why it’s critical to start developing resilience as soon as possible. Kenneth Ginsburg, a physician and professor of paediatrics, developed the Seven C’s Model of Resilience, which was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Each of these elements can help your young children develop and enhance their resilience. 

The Seven Characteristics of Resilience are:

  1. Competence is the ability to do a job or activity effectively. It can help us navigate the world by developing abilities like communication, self-advocacy, and bargaining. Allowing young children to observe you working from issue to solution can help you educate and demonstrate competency.
  2. Confidence is the conviction in one’s talents. It is a belief in which you believe in yourself and your ability to overcome life’s obstacles. Confident youngsters are more willing to take risks since they don’t let failure restrict them.
  3. Connection refers to a tight bond with family, friends, and the community. Building good relationships allows young children to have a feeling of belonging and security.
  4. Character is a collection of all the attributes that distinguish children from one another. It is how children think, feel, and act. Character is connected to morality, and how a child’s sense of good and wrong influences their decision-making.
  5. Contribution refers to the act of contributing or offering something. When young children contribute to their peers, they learn responsibility and self-worth. It helps kids gain a feeling of purpose and strengthens strong reciprocal relationships.
  6. Coping refers to the ideas and activities used to deal with stressful events, both internal and external. Coping skills are vital to teach children because they help them deal with stress and overcome obstacles. It is more useful to educate youngsters on a diversity of healthy practices than telling them “what not.”
  7. Control is the capacity or power to decide or substantially affect the outcome of an event or the behaviour of another. For youngsters, it is feeling they have control over their activities and that they are important. Understanding control helps youngsters to solve problems. 

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Ways to Help Children Develop Resilience

Developing children’s resilience is essential to their general well-being and capacity to effectively navigate life’s obstacles. Children can develop resilience in the following ways:

  • Encourage honest and real discussions: Give way to Open communication, When children discuss their emotions and feelings openly, they get to learn emotional regulation strategies. This also helps to form a strong, supportive bond with their parents. Children who communicate openly are better able to comprehend and express their emotions, which is critical for resilience. 
  • Developing Interpersonal Skills: building strong communication skills in children via storytelling, reading, and singing encourages self-expression and strengthens relationships with others.
  • Establishing Order and Regularity: Children may feel safer and in charge with a regular daily plan and clear expectations. This Framework can be immensely helpful during stressful or transitional circumstances. For Example, When 7-year-old Sarah moved to a new city, it was pretty hard for her to adjust. but gradually with a routine from waking up early morning every day to going to bed at the same hour, she feels more stable and has control during uncertain times.
  • Developing an optimistic outlook: Parents may help their children establish a positive outlook on life by encouraging them to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and future. This might include discussing goals and ambitions, as well as brainstorming ideas to overcome obstacles.
  • Promoting Active Habituation: By encouraging their children to actively participate in stress and adversity management, parents may help them develop resilience. This may mean providing them with problem-solving assistance, allowing them to express their emotions, and assisting them in overcoming challenges.

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  • Maintaining a close connection: Developing a strong, loving relationship with children is critical for their resilience. This may involve providing emotional support, being emotionally open, and taking part in activities that promote healthy bonds.
  • Promoting a Positive Self-View: Acknowledging Children’s wins and losses, as well as letting them develop a good self-image, can boost their resilience. This may be achieved by complimenting and congratulating their achievements and encouraging them to take on new challenges. 
  • Promoting Self-Healing: Teaching children the importance of self-care activities such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and doing things they enjoy can help them develop resilience by reducing stress and improving overall well-being.
  • Demonstrating and discussing self-control and problem-solving: Parents should be good at handling different scenarios and problems, and they should also discuss this thing with their children. This can include teaching children how one should deal with stress and frustration, as well as developing their capacity to think critically about problem-solving strategies.
  • Finding meaning and a sense of purpose in life: Giving children a sense of direction and motivation via the development of a sense of purpose and meaning may help them become more resilient. This might include discussing with them their values, goals, and aspirations, as well as encouraging them to follow their interests and hobbies.

To summarise, Parenting requires cultivating children who are resilient since it equips them to overcome challenges in life with self-assurance and flexibility. By identifying the factors that contribute to resilience and using strategies like emotional control, problem-solving skills, social support, and effective parenting, parents may assist their children in developing the talents they need to thrive in the face of adversity.

  • Wakeman, J. (2023, October 30). Raising resilient kids who are prepared for the future. Child Mind Institute.
  • (n.d.). How to raise resilient children who never give up. Big Life Journal.
  • Wakeman, J. (2023, October 30). Raising resilient kids who are prepared for the future. Child Mind Institute., J. (2023, October 30). Raising resilient kids who are prepared for the future. Child Mind Institute.

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