Children need adults in their lives to whom the child can rely upon, feel valued by, and be confident they can obtain support from when needed.
Such adults can include parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbours, sports coaches, aunts, uncles, older siblings, and close family friends.
Having appropriate caring adults provides the child with someone he or she can model resilient behaviours off. That is, when a child sees the way adults competently handle situations, that child is learning effective ways to also manage stressful situations. Try to model a “can do” attitude to situations you face yourself, and your child will be more confident in following this positive attitude.
In addition to modelling coping behaviours, supportive adults can help build our child’s resilience by listening to them. Children feel validated and worthy when adults listen with empathy, consider the child’s perspective, and acknowledge the child’s feelings about situations.
By reflecting on your child’s view of the world before looking for solutions, we can help them to understand that their feelings are ok, they are worthy and valued, and it is normal to react to stressful situations. When adults jump in to fix a situation for a child or give advice we undermine our childrens’ belief that they can cope with challenges, and their subsequent ability to bounce back from difficulties.
Our children are going to make mistakes at times, but with supportive adults who help guide their decisions rather than lecture or punish, children are able to learn from those mistakes in a positive way. When your child feels that you understand them, you can then ask them how they think you can help. Adults can encourage children to strategise ways to manage situations and help guide our children in making effective choices for action without taking over the decision making process.