10 Tips for Building Resilience in Children and Teens
By Sue Cook of Family TLC
Divorce Coach and Family Specialist
Help your children develop resilience through separation and divorce (we serve Newmarket & Barrie). Resilience, the ability to cope with stressful situations, thoughts, and actions are things that can be learned over time.
1. Make Connections – Connecting with others provides social support and strengthens resilience. One way to foster a connection is to builds strong family network to help support your child. Also, teach your child to make friends. Friendship will help develop empathy, the ability to feel another person’s pain, and this will deepen your child’s connections.
2. Help your child to help others – By helping others, children who feel helpless gain a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. Engage your child in age-appropriate volunteer work, or ask for assistance on a task that can be managed easily.
3. Maintain a daily routine – Children crave structure in their lives and a regular routine is both predictable and comforting. Encourage your child to develop his or her own routines. They’ll be more likely to stick to the routine if they are part of the decision making process.
4. Take a break – Children are overloaded with information that may sometimes upset them. Conversations, the internet, the news, or thoughts and discussions about separation and divorce can be overwhelming. Make sure your child has the opportunity to take a break.
5. Teach your child self-care – Be a good example and teach your child about healthy eating, exercise, and rest and relaxation. Your child will be more balanced and better deal with stressful times.
6. Move towards your goals – Praise, even for baby steps toward a goal, will allow your child to focus on an accomplishment rather than what they have yet to accomplish. This can help build the resilience needed to move forward in the face of a challenge.
7. Nurture a positive self-view – Teach your child to see the humour in life and have the ability to laugh at themselves. Remind them of the times they’ve successfully handled past hardships and help them understand that past challenges helps build the strength needed to handle future challenges.
8. Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook – An optimistic and positive outlook enables your child to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest of times. Although your child may be too young to consider a long-term outlook on his/her own, help them to see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good.
9. Look for opportunities for self-discovery – Show your children that hardship can teach them what they are made of. Tough times are often the times when children learn the most about themselves
10. Accept that change is part of living – Transition is often frightening for children and teens. Help your child see that change is part of life and new goals can replace goals that have become unattainable.