PARENTING

How to Raise Resilient Children

By Dr Justin Coulson

Posted  February 18 2016 | 0 Shares

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How to raise resilient children

Ruby was in tears. She had just had a fight with a friend at school. The relationship was doomed. She sat sobbing on her bed as her mum tried to talk her through her options. Would Ruby be able to work through the situation? Could she resurrect the relationship with her friend? Could she let it go if it was hurtful and dysfunctional?

If Ruby had high resilience she would make up with her friend, or move on. Either way, she would learn valuable lessons about friendship, but still see herself as someone who could be a good friend. If Ruby had low resilience, she would still learn lessons about friendship, but those lessons may relate to her lack of value as a friend, or even a person. Her inner dialogue could be “why would anyone be my friend?” She may give up on being friends with others, cry a lot, or become a clingy, high-maintenance “friend”.

Resilient children are children who ‘bounce back’ from adversity. They usually enjoy higher wellbeing, more positive relationships, better academic outcomes, and lower risk of depression, anxiety, and stress than children with low resilience. So how do we raise resilient children – kids who can deal with adversity and bounce back quickly? Well-known Australian psychologist, Andrew Fuller, is the director of Resilient Youth Australia. He asked 16 000 Aussie kids about their resilience. He also asked about how they were parented. He discovered that only about 8% of our kids have excellent levels of resilience. But of that 8%, every single one of them agreed with the statement, “I have at least one parent who I know cares about me.” And about 95% of them agreed that “My parents listen to me.” Almost none of the least resilient children agreed with those statements.

Other long-term research shows the same important pattern. If our children are to be resilient – if we want them to flourish even when adversity strikes – the most important protective factor they can experience is the belief, deep down, that we care about them and that we are there for them, no matter what. Our children need our love most when they deserve it least. The recipe for resilience is simple. Show them you love them unconditionally. Demonstrate that you care for them no matter what. Listen to them. Help them feel worthy.

Other protective factors that promote resilience in children:

  • A strong sense of identity (family, cultural, religious, or other)
  • Social support
  • Education
  • Stability (economic, geographic, political)

The more our children experience these factors, the more resilient they’ll be – and the better their lives will be.

Reviewed by Dr Justin Coulson 18 February 2016 references
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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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How to Raise Resilient Children

PARENTING

How to raise resilient children

Ruby was in tears. She had just had a fight with a friend at school. The relationship was doomed. She sat sobbing on her bed as her mum tried to talk her through her options. Would Ruby be able to work through the situation? Could she resurrect the relationship with her friend? Could she let it go if it was hurtful and dysfunctional?

If Ruby had high resilience she would make up with her friend, or move on. Either way, she would learn valuable lessons about friendship, but still see herself as someone who could be a good friend. If Ruby had low resilience, she would still learn lessons about friendship, but those lessons may relate to her lack of value as a friend, or even a person. Her inner dialogue could be “why would anyone be my friend?” She may give up on being friends with others, cry a lot, or become a clingy, high-maintenance “friend”.

Resilient children are children who ‘bounce back’ from adversity. They usually enjoy higher wellbeing, more positive relationships, better academic outcomes, and lower risk of depression, anxiety, and stress than children with low resilience. So how do we raise resilient children – kids who can deal with adversity and bounce back quickly? Well-known Australian psychologist, Andrew Fuller, is the director of Resilient Youth Australia. He asked 16 000 Aussie kids about their resilience. He also asked about how they were parented. He discovered that only about 8% of our kids have excellent levels of resilience. But of that 8%, every single one of them agreed with the statement, “I have at least one parent who I know cares about me.” And about 95% of them agreed that “My parents listen to me.” Almost none of the least resilient children agreed with those statements.

Other long-term research shows the same important pattern. If our children are to be resilient – if we want them to flourish even when adversity strikes – the most important protective factor they can experience is the belief, deep down, that we care about them and that we are there for them, no matter what. Our children need our love most when they deserve it least. The recipe for resilience is simple. Show them you love them unconditionally. Demonstrate that you care for them no matter what. Listen to them. Help them feel worthy.

Other protective factors that promote resilience in children:

  • A strong sense of identity (family, cultural, religious, or other)
  • Social support
  • Education
  • Stability (economic, geographic, political)

The more our children experience these factors, the more resilient they’ll be – and the better their lives will be.

Reviewed by Lisa Kelly 18 February 2016
references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • Doc id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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0 comments

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