What Can Parents Do to Build Resiliency in Children?
The Components of Resilience:
1. COMPETENCE-the ability as parents to know and recognize what young people are doing right and give them opportunities to develop important skills so they feel competent. It is helpful to understand it is necessary to allow young people to recover themselves after a fall.
Reflect on your child’s competence and ask yourself the below questions:
- Do I help my child focus on his strengths and build on them?
- Do I communicate in a way that empowers my child to make his own decisions or do I lecture or guide her to my solution?
- Do I let him make safe mistakes, so he has the opportunity to right himself, or do I try to protect her from every fall?
2. CONFIDENCE– Children need confidence to be able to navigate and survive in the world. Inspire them to think out of the box to jump over obstacles and recover from challenges.
In thinking about your child’s degree of confidence, consider the following questions:
- Do I praise him/her enough? Is it honest praise? Don’t say, “Your so smart. “ Say instead, “your hard work is paying off.
- Do I encourage her to try a little harder because I believe in her or do I push her to beyond realistically high expectations?
3. CONNECTION– Connection with others, at school and within the community. This offers young people the security that allows them independence and to be creative in forming solutions in real life. Children with close linkage to family, friends, school and community develop solid sense of security, producing strong values and prevents them from seeking “destructive alternatives”.
Mull this over when considering your child’s connection:
- Do we build a sense of physical safety and emotional security in our home?
- Do I allow my child to express all types of emotions, or do I squelch his unpleasant feelings? Is he learning that going to other people for emotional support during difficult times is productive or shameful?
- Do I understand the challenges my child will put me through is part of her path towards independence and normal for her development, or will I take them personally and let my feelings harm the relationship?
4. CHARACTER– Children need a clear sense of right and wrong to ensure they are prepared to make wise life choices.
Ask yourself these basic questions:
- Do I help my child understand how her behaviors affect others; the good and the bad ways.
- Do I notice and respect when my child sticks to something?
5. CONTRIBUTION– Young people who contribute to the well-being of others will receive gratitude, they will learn contributing feels good. As a result, they may turn to others when they need help without shame. Children need to realize that the world is a better place because they are in it.
Consider the following questions below while evaluating sense of contribution:
- Do I create opportunities for my child to contribute to others in the world who may be less fortunate with freedom, money, human contact and security as they need?
- Have I empowered my child the belief that she can improve the world by contributing in some specific way?
6. COPING– Young people learn to cope effectively with stress they are more prepared to overcome life’s barriers and challenges. Instill positive, adaptive coping strategies to effectively teach stress-reduction skills.
Some questions to ask ourselves include:
- Have I taught my child the difference between a real emergency and something that just feels like a crisis?
- Do I model positive coping strategies, such as mediation, exercise, good nutrition and adequate sleep?
7. CONTROL– Young people who have learned privileges and respect are earned by demonstrated responsibility are able to make wise decisions and feel a sense of control. Once young people realize they can control the outcomes of their decisions and actions they learn the consequences of their decisions. On the other hand, if parents make all the decisions, they are denied opportunities to learn control.
Consider these questions regarding control:
- Do I help my child understand that life’s events are not purely random, and most things happen as a direct result of someone’s actions and choices?
- Do I reward demonstrated responsibility with increased privileges?
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2014). Building the 7 Cs of Resilience in Your Child. American Academy of Pediatrics, 1-3.