Resilience. Say What?

What is resilience exactly; why is it so important to our lives, and how do you identify if you or your child is resilient enough? What is enough?

The truth is, as “wishy-washy” as that might seem to read, we don’t – and shouldn’t have to set limits on it. As the old cliché goes: “Enough is simply enough.” On the same hand, we also need to keep our accountability in check. 

From a societal standard, resilience is characteristically defined as the capacity to recover from challenging life incidents. Or the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and learn from the experience, despite the pitfalls.

Resilience, however, is not a physical trampoline. So bouncing back or the thrill of jumping up one moment and landing down the next is not necessarily joyous. It’s more akin to a rocky trail, without a map or knowing the way upon it. 

It takes time, strength, adaptation, and support from people and loved ones around you. Without a doubt, we’re all likely to experience setbacks along the path. Eventually, though, we’ll reach the goal we’re aiming for and be able to reflect upon how far we’ve come.

What Is Resilience?

People are confronted with all types of adversity in life. From crises such as illness, abuse, bullying, and instability, to the shared reality of tragic events in the media, like terrorist attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters, and of course, the more recent COVID-19 Pandemic. 

As humans, we have to cope with, adapt, and move through challenging life experiences. Being resilient isn’t meant to signify that people don’t react to stress, emotional upheaval, and pain. Too often in society, we equate resilience with mental toughness.

This simply isn’t true.

Resilience isn’t a motionless attribute. Flexibility and perseverance can help people connect to their resilience. This means modifying certain thoughts and behaviors for improvement. This isn’t easy to do, especially when we’re younger.

Much research indicates that students, who accept that academic abilities and social attributes can be developed over time, often experience a lower anxiety response to adversity and enhanced performance in the classroom. Essentially much of the work surrounding resilience is defined under five principles:

  • Acceptance
  • Meaning
  • Gratitude
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness

Resilience in Kids

Kids confront a countless number of challenges as they grow — from beginning school, making new friends to adverse, traumatic experiences, such as bullying and abuse.

Building resilience in kids and teens, regardless of age — is often guided in the education system by what’s known as the “7 C’s model”. Specifically, it includes traits of:

  • Confidence: Self-confidence is founded on competence. Confidence is gained in abilities, in real-life situations.
  • Connection: Developing close bonds to family, friends, and community to provide a sense of safety and belonging.
  • Character: Having a fundamental sense of right and wrong. Making responsible choices, to contribute to society and ultimately experience self-worth.
  • Competence: Knowledge of how to handle situations effectively. To build competence, with the skills to help them trust judgments and make responsible choices.
  • Contribution: Is that sense of purpose. It’s a powerful motivator. Contributing to the world/society reinforces positive reciprocal relationships.
  • Coping: Dealing with stress effectively, helps be better prepared to manage hardship and setbacks, and 
  • Control: By understanding internal control helps individuals act as problem-solvers rather than victims of circumstance. Learning to take control of the outcomes of decisions, this self-awareness develops capabilities and confidence. (American Academy of Pediatrics AAP)

For young people to manage stressful or traumatic situations effectively. As parents and educators, we can help children develop resilience through positive behaviors and thoughts. 

At Tutor Partners, we aim to support you as parents build resilience in your child through:

  • Fostering social, emotional connections
  • Maintaining a consistent routine
  • Teaching self-care
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Nurturing a positive self-image by keeping things in perspective
  • Developing self-discovery/awareness towards accepting that change is a part of life.

The Importance of Resilience

Resilience is what gives people the core emotional strength to cope with trauma, adversity, and hardship. Or in other words, using one’s internal resources, strengths, and skills to overcome challenges and overcome setbacks.

When resilience skills are lacking, we’re more likely to feel overwhelmed or helpless and rely on unhealthy coping strategies (such as avoidance, isolation).

Resilient people still experience stress, setbacks, and difficult emotions, but they have a tendency to utilize their strengths, seek help from support systems to conquer challenges, and work through trials and tribulations. 

Resilience empowers us to accept and adapt to a situation and move forward.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

~ Nelson Mandela

Whatever it is you can do, do it now. 

Let’s join forces to establish resiliency to the challenges within our lives.

The bottom line, if we feel better about who we are, the better the chance of succeeding.

Just be, live freely.

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