If you are a parent of someone who is close too or cares for a child then you’ll know how upsetting and daunting it can be when it comes to mental health issues, especially if we have any worries or concerns.
One way we can help our children to deal with what life throws at them is to help them to become more resilient.
Resilience is a child’s ability to cope with an event that is often challenging and brings about change, such as changing school, death of a loved one, divorce, etc.
In times like this it is perfectly normal for children to experience some stress and anxiety and as parents/carers we can do an awful lot to help them through it, to learn new skills and ways of coping that children can carry forward with them into the future.
So what can you do to help?
I’d like to offer you 5 suggestions for helping children to become more resilient.
Here we go….
Let your child know that ALL feelings are ok, that there is no right or wrong way to feel, even feelings they may consider bad such as anger, rage and sadness. Help them to recognise that feelings will pass is time.
So when you ask them how they feel and they say, ‘angry’ you could say something simple such as, ‘You’re feeling angry right now. I understand that considering (insert whatever they have experienced here) and that’s ok, I’m pleased you can tell me how you feel.’
This will show your child that you have heard them, you understand them and it is ok for them to feel however they are feeling.
(2) Respect their right to independence
This can be tough for both parents and children in some ways as although we need to have rules to protect our children, we also need to get the balance right and give them enough space and freedom to grow into mature, responsible and confident young people.
It’s important to allow children to make their own choices and decisions and sometimes they will make mistakes but what this does is gives them the opportunity to learn from experience and gives them room for emotional growth.
Children are social creatures by nature and it’s our job as parents and carers to ensure that our children spend enough time with others to learn the social skills they need as they move through life. More so, by building friendships and trust with others will give your child a circle of people they can talk too, to learn from and to turn to in times of need.
So arrange those play dates, get in touch with friends or family you haven’t seen in a while and go spend some quality time together.
In this hectic world of technology and fast moving just about everything, it is important for children to be able to switch off sometimes. Ensure that your child has a range of activities available to them that can help them to unwind such as reading a book, colouring in, playing outside or having a bath. Their little minds need to switch off sometimes too.
(5) Help others
Children can learn a lot about themselves through helping others. Helping others can help childen to develop a sense of who they are, how they matter and how they can make a difference in the world.
Some ideas might be to volunteer at a local charity (with adult supervision), raise money for a charity of their choice or as my own son asked recently, ‘can we take part in a litter picking day so animals don’t get hurt by it?’
Giving back makes us feel good about ourselves, children included and it is particularly good for children who are struggling with self-worth.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these tips to help build your child’s resilience and have in mind how you can put them into action now.
If you have any questions or anything you’d like to add please do leave a comment below.
Written by Maria Albertsen – www.mariaalbersten.com