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  • Writer's pictureShannon Kelly

Building Resiliency in Children

What does it mean to be Resilient?


Resiliency is defined as the ability to adapt and recover from challenges, adversity or setbacks. A child or teen who is resilient is able to navigate through difficult situations while maintaining emotions to problem solve various situations. Resiliency is such an important skill for children and teens to possess as it helps overcome and process hardships. Often thoughts become stuck and situations create difficult emotions. Having a "resilient mindset" helps children and teens problem solve and move towards growth and potential.


Parents and supportive adults can help build resiliency in children and teens by creating a supportive environment where children feel safe to explore, make mistakes, and learn from such opportunities. A supportive environment may involve giving youth strength based language such as "how do you think you can solve this problem". Encouraging strength based language, rather than rescuing children will help children grow the building blocks for future challenges. Teaching problem-solving skills, and promoting emotional well-being are key elements in helping build resiliency in children. Discussing problems in a creative and supportive manner is key! Get curious...This might look like "WOW that sounds difficult, I wonder what the hardest thing about this problem is? I wonder what might be the best way to solve it?


How can parents help build resilience in children?


Here are a few tips to help build resiliency in children:


  1. Help your Child build Strong Relationships - Encourage positive connections with family, friends, and within your community. By encouraging collaboration, this will increase your child's self esteem and lower feelings of anxiety and self-defeating thoughts if present.

  2. Teach Problem-Solving Skills - You can do this by helping children break down problems into manageable steps and encourage them to find solutions independently. Encourage them to break down the size of the problem versus the size of the emotion. They are two separate entities.

  3. Promote Emotional Awareness - Support the expression and understanding of emotions and teach coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing or talking about feelings.

  4. Help your child Develop a Growth Mindset - Emphasise the value of learning from mistakes and foster a mindset that sees challenges as opportunities for growth.


Calgary Child Psychologist

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