Announcing the release of
Featuring: David Osmond, Jessie Funk, The Bonner Family, Kurt Bestor and other local artists
Choreography by Emmy Award Winner Bonnie Story
Plus more than 40 dancers from around the country
Written and Produced by Steve James
10 Ways to Build Lasting Resilience in Children
by Barbara Smith, Director, Utah Family Partnership Network
We all know someone who is resilient, who seems to be able to face obstacles and bounce back time after time. They must have been born with the resiliency gene. Not so. Resiliency is a skill, a way of thinking, a way of doing that can be taught. Resilience is the ability to overcome difficult experiences and be shaped for the better by them. Here are some strategic actions parents can take to increase their children’s resiliency.
1. Don’t jump in and rescue your children from a challenge or struggle. Let them know you understand it is hard, but you know they can figure it out. This is critical to helping build resiliency. It lets your children know you believe in them. Every time they make it through, they have learned they can struggle through things and succeed.
2. Let your children experience disappointment. The fact is not everyone wins. We all must face disappointment, but to help your children learn to cope with it now will teach them they can make it through in the future. Often being denied one opportunity opens the doors to other possibilities.
3. Don’t let your children play the Blame Game. You know the one. It is always someone else’s fault. Life isn’t always fair; children need to recognize their mistakes, own them and then fix them. (As parents we need to do the same). Don’t let your children become victims. Let them be the captains of their ships!
4. Help your children to label their feelings. If they can say they are mad they probably won’t hit their sibling. You can empathize with their feelings whether they are sad, lonely or frustrated. Naming the feeling helps get it out in the open so they can face it and decide how to move on.
5. Celebrate the effort not the outcome. If the only time children gets positive feedback is if they get an A or win first place, they will do anything to get those-even if it means cheating. Resiliency is nurtured by cheering the effort. What a gift to give your children, to be able to be appreciated for the journey.
6. Build strong relationships. To be resilient, children need to know the adults in their world have their best interest at heart. Let them know that you believe they have what it takes to cope with challenges that come their way.
7. Listen to your children. Don’t try to jump in and solve the problem. Let them talk. The more they talk, the more ideas form and the closer they come to solving their problems.
8. Nurture creativity. Encouraging creativity and incorporating it into the activities your children participate in will make them more confident of trying unique ideas to cope with stress and challenges. There is often more than one way to approach challenges.
9. Let Them Know they are capable. As your children get better at a task, note their improvement and compliment them on mastering a skill. Tell them working hard on learning the new skill is as important as reaching it, and you know they can do it.
10. Attitude Matters. Resilient people are generally optimistic people. A child can be taught to be more optimistic by being reminded of the positive that can be found in most situations.
Resiliency can be learned. Life is full of opportunities for these lessons to be taught. Be intentional about helping your children learn how strong they really are and how proud you are of them for not giving up. Catch them struggling with hard things and encourage them to keep trying. Teaching resiliency now is one of the greatest tools you can give your children to help them navigate all the ups and downs they will face in their future and help them believe in themselves.