The 7 "C"s of Resilience - Building Resilience in Children
The modern world can be frightening place with new technology, social media and increased social pressures. There is an increase of parents and teachers are becoming concerned about how young children and teenagers are coping with the pressures of modern living.
There is increasing research showing the decline of mental health and well-being in young people leading to depression, emotional instability and mental illnesses.
It is clear that the children of the 21st century are struggling
Although it is not possible to protect children from the ups and downs of life building resilient children can provide them with the tools they need to respond to challenges successfully.
What is resilience?
Resilience is a person's mental ability to recover from a situation in a healthy and constructive way and refers to a person's ability to 'bounce back' from both good and challenging life experiences.
Young people have always needed effective coping strategies, however to an extent the modern world is more challenging than ever and the main concerns involve an increasing number of young people who are depressed, suicidal, aggressive and are engaging in maladaptive coping strategies such as self-harming, anti social behaviour or substance abuse.
To prevent this it is important that children and teenagers develop strengths and acquire skills to cope, recover from potential ups and downs and be prepared for future challenges.
To succeed in life children must build resilience.
Dr.Ginsburg has identified seven 'C's of resilience that recognises resilience isn't a one part entity. These guidelines are useful for parents to help children recognise their abilities.
The 7 "C"s of Resilience
Dr. Ginsburg summaries that children need to know that there is an adult in their life who believes in them and loves them unconditionally. Children will either live “up” or “down” to our expectations.
Although there is no simple answer to guarantee resilience in every situation there are ways to help children develop the ability to negotiate their own challenges and become more resilient.
Competence refers to the feeling of knowing that a person can handle a situation effectively. You can help the development of competence in a child by:
Helping the child to focus their individual strengths
Empower the child to make decisions
Focus on specific incidents if the child identifies their mistake
Recognise the competencies of sibling individuality and avoid comparing each sibling
Ensure the desire to protect the child doesn't mistakenly send a message to the child that their parents doesn't think they are competent to handle things
A child's self confidence in their own abilities stems from competence.
You can help build a child's confidence by:
Focus and highlight the best in each child and clearly express their best qualities - Examples can include kindness, fairness, loyalty
Make sure a child receives recognition when they do well
Praising the child about specific achievements
Not pushing a child to take on more than they can realistically handle
Ensuring a strong bond to the family and the community can create a solid sense of security that helps build strong values.
You can help a child build strong connections with others by:
Ensure a strong sense of physical safety and emotional security within the family home
Allow the child to express all their emotions so they will feel comfortable to reach out to you during a difficult time
Address any conflict that arises in the family openly to help resolve problems
Have a space in the house where the family can share time.
It is important for children to develop a strong set of morals and values that help them determine what is right and wrong and to build a caring, compassionate attitude to other people.
You can help build a child's character by:
Show children how behaviour can affect other people
Help the child to recognise themselves as a caring person
Demonstrate to the child the important of community
Avoid any hateful statements or stereotypes
It is important for children to believe that the world can be a better place with them in it and understand how they can help the world by their own contributions.
You can teach a child how to contribute to the world by:
Speaking to a child about other people in the world that may be not as fortunate as themselves and how it is important to be grateful for everything they have
Talk about the importance of helping others with generosity and kindness
Create different opportunities for a child to contribute in some way such as giving a homeless person a hot cup of tea, helping to collect food for a food bank.
Learning how to deal with stress effectively will help a child be prepared for any challenges they may need to overcome.
Positive coping lessons can include:
Helping a child to develop effective coping strategies they can use in any situation or scenario
Model effective coping strategies oneself regularly
Understanding that simply telling a child to stop the negative behaviour is not always effective and can actually increase a child's sense of shame
Getting a child to understand that they control the outcome of their decision is likely to increase a child's ability to 'bounce back'.
You can help to empower a child by:
Help a child to understand that most things in life happen as result of an individuals choices or actions
Discipline is about teaching not punishing. Ensure that discipline is used to help a child understand that their actions produce a certain consequence.