Building resilience in our children

The famous African American civil rights campaigner, Fredrick Douglas once said ‘it is easier to build strong children than repair damaged men’ and I couldn’t agree more.

Our children have access to so many opportunities and advantages that many of us (my generation in particular), could only dream of.

However, this leads us to believe that young people have easy lives and we fail to appreciate the pressure they are under. If I’m being honest, I would hate to be a teenager now. They can keep their computers, mobile technology, social media etc. I would rather the childhood I had in the eighties. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough and we had our challenges, but the level of pressure and expectation was different.

So many children are buckling under this intense pressure and scrutiny. The Time for Change charity states that 1 in 10 young people are suffering from mental health problems. Surely as adults we can do more to protect our children and prepare them for the big wide world.

Being resilient is important when dealing with pressure, failure and many of life’s adversities. Too many parents believe that they can shelter their children forever, but this is simply not possible. At some point in their lives, our children will have to deal with bereavement,change, failed relationships, conflict, family problems or other personal issues.

Resilience is your child’s ability to bounce back from adversity, but how can we as parents or adults help them to do this? I have some suggestions.

Young people and children need to have a general belief in themselves. Having confidence is an antidote to the feelings of anxiety. Check out my article ‘The Secrets of Unstoppable Self Confidence’ on how you can improve your child’s confidence and self-belief.

Children can become empowered by helping others. In particular, encourage them to volunteer or engage in supportive roles at home, school or in the community.

Model what good resilience looks like. Your child will in general follow your example when it comes to being resilient. Ask yourself, how you deal with a crisis?

Explain to your child that change is a natural part of life. Explain to them that nothing stays the same and give/show them examples as to how you have coped with key changes in your life.

Whenever possible, encourage your child to work out problems for themselves. This will help self-reliance and an understanding that ‘you’ hold the answers to all of your problems.

Philosopher and author, Kamil Ali states ‘success however measured, is the seat of a stool with three legs of determination, focus and resilience’. True words indeed.

Stay focused and stay blessed.

Twitter: @davidokoro1

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