What is resilience and why is it important?
This month on the Fathering Channel we are going to explore the importance of resilience in our lives, how we can help our children build resilience through their different ups and downs, and why resilience is so important in difficult times – such as COVID–19.
What is resilience?
It is our ability to cope with change and challenge and to bounce back in difficult times.
Resilience in 2020
The COVID crisis is one of those difficult times so our resilience is being tested with challenges that few of us have experienced before. If we want our children and young people to continue to become more resilient, there are some important understandings and tips for you to support their journey.
Resilience and kids
It is important to know that some children are naturally more resilient than others, their temperament allows them to deal with problems, difficulties or disappointments and recover without too much fuss or bother.
However, not every child will have this natural resilience and will need your support as a father, father figure or parent to help build skills and confidence to deal with life’s challenges and recover to move forward.
Four areas of resilience
- Support – ‘I have’ strong caring relationships and support from people around me who I trust and who are good role models for me.
- Self-esteem – ‘I am’ capable and confident in myself and my ability to take on challenges and try new things.
- Skills to cope – ‘I can’ manage think positively; solve problems and adapt to new or difficult situations.
- Strong love – We want our children to believe – I have strong caring relationships and support from people around me.
The most common factor
Evidence based research tells us that children who demonstrate resilience have all identified that they have a strong relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult.
A father is often seen as a solid foundation for safety and security. Because of this, children often look to their fathers as a role model of how to react in different or difficult situations.
Our tips for supporting resilience in your children:
- Demonstrate a positive attitude towards your own challenges. Talk about them as opportunities to learn and improve.
- Support their sense of self. Help them to develop a positive sense of who they are, how they feel about themselves and what they can do.
- Build coping skills. Talk to your child about how to develop strategies for dealing with difficult situations.
- Help them to find solutions to problems. Ask questions like, “What could you do?” and “What do you think?” and try not to always solve the problem for them.
- Allow them to take on healthy challenges and risks. Provide opportunities for them to build confidence by taking on challenges and encourage them to work through problems and dilemmas.
- Help them to take on responsibilities. Start with the basics like caring for their own belongings, making their own bed, chores e.g. feeding the pets. This builds their sense that they are capable.
Dr Bruce Robinson is the founder of The Fathering Project – see more from Bruce
If you or your children are struggling
Kids can call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or you can contact your child’s GP. If you are struggling, call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.