2nd Sep 2021
It’s a question we get asked a lot. How can I build my child’s resilience levels?
Resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ from challenges, from failures, from disappointments. The good news is, it isn’t something we have or don’t have. It’s a skill that we can develop as we grow up.
Many parents view resilience as the key to managing issues such as bullying behaviour, but we need to ensure that when managing these sorts of situations, we don’t ‘victim blame’. It is not your child’s fault they may have been bullied. It is not down to their resilience, or lack of resilience, that has caused the incident to occur. Resilience can, of course, help them manage the situation and so to help them develop skills in this area can be a big help, but it’s important to ensure we don’t say they need to ‘be more resilient’ to manage situations such as bullying behaviour.
Some ways you can help your child in developing their resilience are
1.Try not to ‘fix things’ for them
As hard as this can be, it is important we stop ‘fixing’ issues for them. They cannot win at everything; we cannot intervene in every dispute we hear them having. We must let them develop coping strategies for themselves.
2. Work with them to develop their emotional vocabulary
It’s always easier to manage a feeling if we understand what it is we are experiencing. Helping them to develop their language around their emotions can make it easier for them to express themselves, identify emotions and therefore utilise appropriate coping strategies to manage them. This helps greatly in developing emotional resilience.
3. Highlight to them the positives of failure
It may sound like a juxta position, but it is so very true. Failure teaches us so much. In removing the experience of failure or disappointment from our children, we remove their ability to develop skills in managing it from a young age. We can help them through the process by showing them how failure can lead to success and what it can teach us.
4. Show them how to look for the positives in a situation
Teaching your children how to have a positive perspective can be such an incredibly useful skill for life. One which many adults wish they had. It is useful not only for building resilience and enabling us to see the positives in any given scenario, but equally it is a powerful tool for our mental well-being and self-esteem.
5. Talk to them and engage with them
Saving the best for last. The most important way you can help them is to spend time with them. Connect with them. Engage with them. Lead by example. Demonstrate those key skills in resilience in how you manage your own everyday interactions. Discuss them as they happen. Tell them how you feel. We sometimes overlook how much influence we have over our children. To show them how we manage adversity, trauma and risk can teach them so much.
Resilience is a life skill that takes time to develop. And we all develop at different times. All we can hope for, is to do what we can with what is within our own sphere of influence, to help our children develop their own individual coping strategies.
As Nelson Mandela once famously said:
‘Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.’
Written by Lucy Howard, BulliesOut Digital Communications Officer
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