Helping kids build resiliency
WRITTEN BY JACQUELINE LOUIE
HOW TO BUILD
• Give lots ofencouragementand support
• Play with them
• Focus on strengths
• Be a good rolemodel
• Apologize whenyou’re wrong
• Give them choicesand respect theirwishes
• Ask questions andreally listen to theiranswers
• Encourage sharingand helping
• Read together.
Resilience isthe ability tohave positiveexperiencesoutweigh thenegative
Resiliency can help children cope with life, solve problems and regulate theiremotions.
A child’s foundation for goodmental health is built early inlife through his relationshipswith his parents, family,caregivers, teachers and otherchildren.
These relationships help
him build resiliency—the
ability to bounce back from
setbacks and cope with life’s
ups and downs. Resiliency
is built by certain skills such
as problem solving, empathy
and emotional regulation,
which is the ability to show
emotions in ways that won’t
hurt oneself or others.
A resilient child is able toreact confidently, positivelyand adapt well to changewhen he hits bumps andpotholes on the road oflife. Resilience is also abuffer against the harmfuleffects of adverse childhoodexperiences (see page 26).
“Our mental healthdepends on our relationshipswith other people fromthe very beginning,” saysDr. Carole-Anne Hapchyn,an infant psychiatrist inEdmonton and a clinicalprofessor of psychiatry andpediatrics at the University ofAlberta.
“When you are resilient,you’ve got more in the bankto cope,” she says. It’s likea scale, with the positivethings in a child’s life goingto one side of the scale andthe negative going to theother side. Resilience is themovable tipping point thatgives a child the ability tohave positive experiencesoutweigh the negative.
One of the best ways tobuild up the positive side ofthe scale is through serve-and-return interactions (seepage 10).
Serve and return helps builda strong relationship betweenan adult and child, creating anemotional bond that gives thatchild the strength, trust andsecurity he needs. |a