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2020 is the year that is testing our collective and individual Resilience. As we watch tragic events around the country and world, it’s hard not to feel worry or sadness, and in some instances anger. This is proving to be a very tough year on us all, including our children.
What do we mean by resilience?
Resilience is our ability to cope well with the ups and downs of life. A bit like a rubber band, how well do we spring back after we’ve been stretched by a challenge. Depending on the type and number of challenges we face, our resilience might be quite low, and we don’t’ spring back easily. Low Resilience can result in feeling anxious about the next challenge, feeling down about ourselves, and perhaps not managing the next challenge as well as we would like to. When challenges pile up, like they have been doing this year, our resilience suffers and we might begin to feel overwhelmed.
There are different ideas about how resilience develops. The most common theory is that it is a mixture of personality factors, our environment (e.g. home and school), and our perceived level of support. As a parent, now is a good time to check in with our children and gauge our children’s resilience.
How can we improve our child’s resilience?
Here are some areas to consider…
Mental health research consistently points out that children who feel supported and have strong relationships with their parents are better able to cope. Now is the time for open discussions that provide reassurance and demonstrate care. Simply having a strong positive relationship with your child, all by itself, helps them.
We all need to feel that we are capable and confident. It’s also how we learn to problem solve and cope with failure. Experiences of success at home and school, coupled with your recognition and praise, can really help to improve confidence and resilience. Giving your children challenges, helping them to succeed and acknowledging their success, goes a long way in supporting their resilience, emotional well-being and sense of stability. At the same time, undue or harsh criticism can erode this too.
Managing strong feelings well is a sign of healthy resilience. However, many children don’t manage strong feelings easily or naturally. You can help by showing how you cope positively with challenge and teach your own calming strategies to your child. There are so many resources online about different ways that we can teach our children these skills.
Interested in knowing a bit more about resilience? We’ve included a link to another article that you might find helpful: https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-tips-for-raising-resilient-kids/
If you feel as though your child’s resilience or capacity to cope at the moment is low, and you need some assistance in supporting them, our experienced psychologists are ready to share their expertise. Please call our Reception on 9274 7062 for further information.
Naomi Ward, Director and Sharon Jones, Principal Psychologist