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How can we help children be resilient?

Resilience is our ability to bounce back and cope with unfavourable situations. So how can we help children be more resilient?

Firstly, we need to learn to recognise and name our feelings. When we get flummoxed in situations or we feel mentally challenged, that is when we start doubting ourselves and also whether we’ll be able to navigate any future challenges. As a result, when we engage in introspection, we gain a better understanding of ourselves.

For instance, when we get poor grades, we comfort ourselves with statements like “I hate this subject” or “The teacher did not teach it properly.” But if we learn resilience, we manage to express our feelings in words, like how scoring low on a test makes me feel incompetent, stupid, and underconfident.

We may understand or realise that one reason why we did not score so well is as simple as that we didn’t practise enough. Interestingly, when we recognise and name our feelings, then we can ask for help to become more competent from our teachers, parents, counsellors, or anybody who we look up to.

So when we start solving problems, looking into why did this particular situation bring me down? What happened is that we have grown from that situation. We learn. There were some things that were under my control that I did not do well enough. So, with resilience, children realise that often it’s their efforts that can help them get the quality of life that they are craving.

So when we are resilient, we develop a range of coping strategies. Resilience is the capacity to understand that mistakes are something that is just there for us to grow. Resilience can help us build confidence, and it can also help us set goals. So when children actually start building up resilience, they are not so bothered by life’s challenges, and they know that everything is a part and parcel of life, like a seesaw.

Resilience fosters wellness; it gives us a feeling that all is well. It also helps us nurture a positive view of our own sin. And most importantly, resilience teaches us self-compassion as it helps us improve our problem-solving and coping skills. At the same time, it helps us take healthy risks and embrace mistakes, our own as well as others, as part and parcel of life.

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