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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Building Resilience in Children - A Modern Day Survival Tool

By Andrew Loh

Change is inevitable in life. Dealing with it is an important part of life too. Everyone in this world face some sort of setbacks, frustrations, disappointments and sadness many times in the life. Some of these tough situations could be minor, inconsequential while others might be serious, and life threatening. The way and manner in which we treat these situations will usually play an important role. It will also affect the outcome of life where we either succeed or fail depending on the toughness with which we dealt with the situations.

However, some people seem to remain calm and quiet even in the event of a serious or tragic event. On the other hand, many others just break down and fall apart. People who can stay cool and endure the pain are the ones who succeed in many areas of life. Psychologists call this special character as giver of life because it promises hope and encouragement. Experts refer to this special character as resilience. In simple words, resilience is the ability to face problems and setbacks. It is also the capability to handle and manage the most severe problems of life.

People who possess this trait are known to be highly resilient. Resilient ones are endowed with an ability to use many skills and strengths to face, manage, and recover from life's challenges and problems. Some of these problems could relate to personal life, marriage, divorce, death in the family, financial problems, illness, medical emergencies or natural disasters. The power of resilience is similar to those who possess it, including your children.

People who are not resilient are most likely to face severe problems. In fact, all those more serious events of life may engulf and over power them. To overcome these problems, they may even use the wrong method and techniques that are actually detrimental to life. In addition, they are also very slow to recover from any of the above-mentioned setbacks and events. This will result in additional burden of psychological breakdown. Coming back to resilience in children, it plays a much more important role than in adults.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • Example #1: "I forgot to bring back my book from school, what should I do?"

  • Example #2: "My friends in school always tease me because I am short"

  • Example #3: "I am so sad that I failed in Science test"

Throughout day and night, children are likely to utter the above-described words. Resilience to face these situations is very critical because it is their capacity to endure and overcome all adverse situations in life. Resilience helps children to overcome shocks and trauma while a lack of resilience will result in shocks and traumas winning over the mind itself. External help could help children to certain extent. However, it is just insufficient to seek help from others.

According to Edith H. Grotberg (International Resilience Project), resilience in children comes through three important sources. You can be the source of resilience for your children and it is possible to give the following three sources of resilience:

  1. I have everything that can give me resilience

  2. I am capable of doing many things

  3. I can do anything

I have everything that can give me resilience

This is perhaps the most important source of resilience your children. Your children should believe that people around them are helpful and trustworthy. They should also rely on you to set meaningful limits so that they will know where to stop when there is a possibility of danger. You should also show them how do things the right way they are done.

I am capable of doing many things

"I am" is possibly the most important words for your children. When you say, "I am", your children should not develop a sense of ego. Instead, they should strive to become a person that everyone likes and adores. For example, your child should become a person people would like to love and adore. Your children should be ready to do good things for others and show empathy. They should also respect others and their own hearts.

I can do anything

Children will become resilient when they believe that they can do anything possible to stay calm and relaxed. They should talk to other people about things and events that scare them so that they get the required courage and encouragement. When there is a frightening scenario, they should be able to develop required courage to face the adverse situations.

Resilience attitude is a package of strength, guts, courage, stoutness and tenacity. It is possible to acquire this wonderful character by training your children in the art of facing adverse situations. Parents could do it by learning how they are done and in what manner they could use effective techniques. The next article in this series will give you useful strategies to build resilience in children. Contine to read Building Resilience in Children - Techniques and Methods.


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