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Teach Your Child Resilience

Dec 19, 2012
Our most cherished times in life often involve joy and laughter. However, everyone also experiences stress and hard times, and unfortunately so will our children. Research has shown that resilience is the most important quality you can help your child develop.

Our most cherished times in life often involve joy and laughter. However, everyone also experiences stress and hard times, and unfortunately so will our children. Research has shown that resilience is the most important quality you can help your child develop. 

What is resilience? It is the ability to “bounce back” from hard times, manage difficult feelings and cope with day-to-day stresses and major life events. Resilient children are less likely to experience depression and have been shown to have happier relationships, better success in both school and work and even live healthier, longer lives. 

But how can we help prepare our children for those tough times in life?  

A Secure Bond

Having a close, loving relationship with your child is very important for developing resilience. When children feel loved, understood and protected, they feel safe and secure and have confidence to explore their world. 

Role Modeling

Young children pay attention to how adults in their lives handle challenges and deal with stress. When the adults around them cope well, children learn to calm down more easily, persevere and problem solve. 

Skills

Recognizing emotions is a key step on the road to resilience. Once children are able to recognize and accept their emotions, we can help them to learn words and actions that are appropriate for expressing these feelings. Weddings, funerals and celebrations are opportunities for children to learn how you, your family and your culture express and cope with emotions.

Uncomfortable feelings such as anger, anxiety, guilt, jealousy and sadness are all part of life. You can help your children learn coping skills to manage these tough emotions effectively. For example, you can teach your child relaxation and breathing techniques to manage stress. 

How we think about ourselves can affect our ability to respond to challenges. You can teach your child to be a thought-catcher – to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. Helping your child to look on the bright side of life encourages children to develop positive ways of thinking about themselves and the world.  

Encourage your child to find their own answers rather than solving every problem for them. When children learn to problem solve, it builds their confidence and they learn that problems are temporary and have solutions. 

When Hard Times Come

Children need help when they are distressed. Be available, reassure them of their safety and help them work through the crisis. Praise your child for their efforts in facing their fears. If anxiety and fears are interfering with day-to-day life, seek professional help. 

For more information on resilience and other topics related to child health, call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit our website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.

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 Dr. Surry is one of Simcoe Muskoka’s associate medical officers of health and a pediatrician.

 

 


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