Building Resilience in Children - What is Resilience?
By Andrew Loh
Resilience - "The capability of a strained body to recover
its size and shape after deformation caused especially by
compressive stress" (Merriam-Webster)
Days in and days out, small children face abnormally serious
emotional situations that relate to several family problems like
divorce among parents, an incidence of death in the family or even
separation from near and dear ones. Most of these common, but
debilitating incidences can either strengthen or weaken a child.
Whether they damage the psyche of a child beyond repair depends
entirely on the child's resilience. The factor of resilience is very
critical to your child, because it is the most intrinsic and
integral capacity of a person to encounter, face, overcome any
traumatic, emotional, tragic and piquant situations that arise
occasionally in life. Every child in this world faces adversities at
one point or the other. In fact, no one is immune!
The power of resilience in your children can help them face any type
of situations in life. They can win over any trauma or tragic
incidences. They can win over the pressures and pulls of a tough
classroom. More often, the crises and problems that arise from
within the family and from outside can overwhelm your children. All
children in this world have some inner strength to face emotionally
debilitating situations. However, it may not be enough to sustain
the emotional upheaval that goes inside the mind of a young child.
Outside help and assistance is very essential for your children,
especially in times of trouble. However, it may not be just enough.
Mind you, children badly need their parents' love, affection, trust
and hope to sustain their life. Food and shelter are insufficient
for your children. They also need safer environment to grow and
thrive along with your love and affection. All these simple things
in your children's life can make them resilient in their life that
eventually helps them to lead a life of hope and aspirations.
The power of resilience is a primary ability with all humans
including children; however, this ability seems to be very nascent
in young children. Resilience in children comes automatically with
age; as your children grow and develop, they will enhance their
ability to withstand external influences that are negative in
nature. Parents and teachers can promote the power of resilience
with their words, behavior, actions and demeanor. Resilience in
children also depends on the kind of environment they grow and
develop. Parents and teachers also help their children become
self-sufficient, autonomous, independent, self-motivated, empathetic
and helping. Furthermore, they also assist their children become
hopeful and trusting, so that they can handle any difficult
situations in life.
Children need the power of resilience to face and encounter a number
of crises that are so common these days. There could a number of
piquant and adverse situations in your children's life. Among these
adverse situations, some of the most common ones are:
Death in the family
Illness among family members
Migration to another place
Classroom stress and pressure
Bullying by peers
Children who face adverse situations always feel solitary and
lonely, frightful and extremely vulnerable. Those children who are
resilient are confident enough to face any situations. For them, the
feelings mentioned above are less stressful and overwhelming.
Beneficial resources of self confidence and self belief will help
them face any odds. Most of us have three main sources of resilience
within us and they play a major role in how far we can develop the
character of resilience. These three sources of resilience are as
Note: These three sources of resilience will help
us to overcome all stressful and adverse situations that arise
This is perhaps the most important source of inspiration to develop
resilience in children. In fact, they keep looking for this source
all the time and throughout the day. “I have” - these two important
words provide a sense of solace and hope for your children. Your
children may believe that you and spouse are there always by their
side to help them out from any adverse situations. For them, you are
the beacon of hope and inspiration. For them, you are the guide who
has the ability to steer them towards the right path.
I trust my parents, brothers, sisters and teachers because they help
me when I am in trouble.
I know that my parents and teachers want me to succeed in my
I know that my parents want me to do things on my own.
These two words are essential in developing self image and self
belief. When your children develop self-confidence, they can also
develop the power of resilience and toughness. These two words
signify inner strength of your child and they will also help them in
enhancing motivational powers.
I know that I am a person who can be trusted and believed by others.
I know that I can empathize with others, when they are in problems.
I know that I can be responsible with my actions and deeds.
I know that I can face any difficult situations with ease and
These two critical words are the source of resilience in your
children, because they can help them to streamline their social and
societal behavior. They are also very important in inter-personal
communicational and communications skills. When your children
understand the innate meanings of these two words, they can develop
self confidence and self belief as well.
I can easily tell others about those things and events that frighten
I can easily solve any type of problems.
I can talk to other people about my problems.
I can find someone who can help me when I need it.
The meaning of resilience is way beyond ordinary words. It is
something that you alone can comprehend and understand. Likewise,
your children can understand their abilities and capacities like
you. They may need more time to build the character of resilience,
because their mental attitude and development needs more time to
develop and mature. Continue to read
Building Resilience in Children - Basic Methods and Techniques