Skill of the Day for Kids’ Mental Toughness: Resilience
A few blogs back we ran a short series about useful skills for kids’ mental strength. We covered perseverance, hopefulness, and independence. Each of these things are traits that, when cultivated in a child, can lead them to a healthy, happy, and productive life.
But one quality can interact with these three others, and that quality is known as resilience.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks ranging from inconvenient to downright traumatizing. It’s about processing what happened in a healthy way, then finding peace and confidence to move forward in one’s life. When kids learn to be more resilient, it gives them a positive tendency they may carry with them through all of life’s trials and tribulations.
Whether it comes “naturally” to someone or not, resilience is proven to be a learnable skill. Kids (and adults too!) can always build on their ability to stay resilient in the face of hard times and carry on with an “onwards and upwards” mentality when all is said and done.
Here are some pieces of advice gathered from decades working in the field of children’s mental health that can help them find resilience.
- Prioritize relationships and connect with others who raise a child’s spirits when they’re feeling down. Remind them they have family and friends that they can trust, and also that there are others who have similar values/issues. Don't let them stay isolated.
This is mostly advice for adolescents: No substance abuse! Using drugs or alcohol to get through life’s problems only causes more hardship, not less. Educate kids about the harms of substance abuse and seek professional guidance if you think they’re using them.
Help the kids find a purpose. Maybe they’d like to help others, or learn an art form, or take up a hobby. It keeps them busy and productive, and provides something positive to focus on. Writing down goals can also be self-motivating, helping kids accomplish a bit every day.
Teach them to recognize their successes. They can take a look back at things in the past where their hard work through adversity gave them a sense of accomplishment. Even if it was a “failure” they can see that it wasn’t the “end of the world” - and even that can be a learning experience! This perspective shift can change how they view problems.
Teach them to accept change, and know that routines and people come and go in life. You can show them that even though things change, there is still a lot in life to appreciate. Building this attitude gets them ready for life where change is one of the only constants
Know where and when to get them help. Sometimes a child has a lot of trouble dealing with hardship, and professional help is needed. A mental health professional can work wonders with children and give them extra tools they need to stay resilient and carry on to live a happy life.
Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience treating families and kids of all ages. We offer online psychiatry and therapy right to your device. Simply schedule at www.bregmanmd.com or call 305-740-3340.