Resilience Building - Perspectives

Education

"I can handle that" - Our capacity to handle disappointment, failure and change is the key to managing the ups and downs that are part of everyday life for all of us. The tendency for the current generation of parents to try and protect children from negative experiences makes it harder for children to build this capacity.

Immunise against depression - High levels of depression and anxiety amongst young people (where linked to negative life events, not illness or medication) can be addressed by:

  • normalising failure as a stepping stone to success
  • increasing the individual's awareness of their own emotional life
  • building connections and support networks
  • learning practical skills for tackling the down times.

Practical skills include teaching children and young people how to:

  • tolerate disappointment
  • re-frame failure as opportunity
  • de-catastrophise negative events
  • tune in to their body signals
  • respond to personal challenges with active plans
  • seek adult support along the way.

Capacity not avoidance - A resilient personality is not immune from experiencing problems in life, but he or she has the capacity to proactively tackle those problems. With each experience of tackling a problem, the child develops capacity for handling the next.

Resilience not risk taking – adolescents who act out with alcohol, sex, drugs or other means tend to do so because they have no other means of dulling emotional pain or confusion. A resilient person is less likely to fall back on risk taking as a response to difficulty.

Teach these skills with Resilient Kids – an interactive CD Rom resource for primary and secondary produced by Open Doors.

[Resilient Kids is included in the following resource guides: Kids Matter (produced by Early Childhood Australia, Beyond Blue and the Department of Health) and Mind Matters (Australian Psychological Society).
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The Optimistic Child
"As with immunisation against physical disease, there is an understanding that the disease of depression can be prevented through encouraging a sense of optimism and personal mastery."
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