Dr Lisa Gomes Senior Clinical Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
10 April 2019
As parents we all want to raise happy, healthy kids – kids who will be resilient enough to ride the ups and downs of life.
Beyond Blue defines resilience as simply doing well during or after an adverse event or period of adversity. We know that during life we will all face adversities – hardships, or difficult or unpleasant situations. So how do we foster resilience, so that when these adversities inevitably occur our kids will not just survive but thrive as a result of it?
What Makes Kids Resilient?
A child’s capacity for resilience is influenced by the following factors:
4 Tips on Raising Resilient Kids:
1. Talk about resilience:
- Read stories and talk with kids about people they know personally or in the media that have overcome big challenges. Think Helen Keller, J. K. Rowling, Michael Jordan.
- Teach kids that it is ‘not just ok, but great!’ to be brave enough to ask for support when they are finding life tough
- Remind kids of what they did to cope well during tough times in the past. And if your child has just come through a tough time, get them to write a tip sheet for their future self!
2. Strong, supportive relationships are the key!
- Encourage your child (and respectfully listen) to express their thoughts, feelings and opinions on topics related to family life and the world. This will increase their sense of belonging and contribution to family life.
- Help kids to connect well with others by spending quality one-on-one time with them and organising for them to spend time with others outside of school.
- Use opportunities that arise when reading books, watching movies, going on outings to teach kids empathy. Ask kids “how might the character/you feel if this was happening?”
3. Focus on autonomy and responsibility
- Help kids to come up with their own strategies and plans of things they can do when they are finding life tough. Things to do that are helpful may include: doing some slow breathing, doing something they enjoy, or talking to an adult.
- Let kids be bored sometimes. This gives them an opportunity to come up with their own ideas of what to play (and you can join in to by following their lead).
- Encourage kids to do simple tasks, such as handing money to a shopkeeper, collecting the mail (with your supervision of course), or bringing their dishes to the sink. This gives them a sense of independence, ownership and confidence in themselves.
4. Focus on managing emotions
- Encourage kids to talk about how they feel by saying ‘I can see your worried’, or ‘it’s ok to cry’. Acknowledging how our kids feel is the first step to them feeling better.
- Talk with kids about things they could do to make themselves feel better. This could include: doing some slow breathing, doing something they enjoy, or talking to an adult.
- (This tip is helpful for everyone!) Incorporate into everyday routines activities to reduce stress, such as mindfulness, slow breathing or other relaxation techniques.
This blog was adapted from the Beyond Blue practice guidelines on ‘Building Resilience in Children aged 0 – 12’. If you would like to learn more about raising resilient kids you can read http://resources.beyondblue.org.au/prism/file?token=BL/1810_A
Dr Lisa Gomes
Senior Clinical Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
Lisa is a warm and compassionate clinical psychologist who enjoys working with children,adolescents and their families to help them thrive. She works closely and collaboratively with families and schools to ensure children and young people are well-supported to utilise skills learnt in therapy and to succeed in their everyday environments.