Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and is often a wonderful strength for those who possess it. Like many other things, developing skills and strengths often takes work and intentionality. Building resiliency in teens and adolescents can often feel like a daunting task, but rest assured some basics foster a strong foundation for resilience building.
Control is something many people want, or even crave, within their own lives. As a teenager, this control can feel limited by rules, parents, requirements, etc. This lack of control can often hinder an individual’s ability to move forward or make decisions tactfully instead of impulsively or rebelliously. Creating and offering opportunities for young people to feel in control not only develops critical thinking skills, but it also provides a sense of capability that can contribute to the development of confidence and competence (both of which are also important for resiliency).
Feeling competent creates opportunities to further develop skill sets and talents. Competency boosts self-esteem and feelings of capability, which in turn encourages individuals to pursue things outside of their comfort zone. Competency creates a frame of reference for success and achievement that encourages us to try something new in the future with the hopes of succeeding, learning, and developing new skills. Nurturing our strengths and talents encourages us to try to develop new strengths and talents in the future.
Feeling confident in oneself allows us to feel capable of exploring and navigating new environments and ventures. Fostering confidence in children and adolescents often comes from encouraging youth to explore age-appropriate tasks so that they may realize their talents. Feeling confident also allows us to ‘bounce back’ from a difficult situation and try again!
A sense of belonging and connection provides individuals with a feeling of community and support. Connecting with others through clubs, sports, youth groups, family, friends, and school events demonstrate for our youth that there are others out there who share their interests, hobbies, challenges, and obstacles. Connections with others create a sense of security that can be invaluable in facilitating a sense of self-worth, purpose, and belonging.
Developing a personal character and moral characteristics come from a sense of awareness regarding what feels right or wrong based on personal values. Having a strong character also ties in to a sense of confidence and control in that it encourages young people to follow their own beliefs, regardless of the challenge that lies ahead.
When working with young people, it is important to understand what it means to cope. Coping methods are anything we use to navigate, eliminate, or overcome difficult challenges and emotionally stressful situations. However, not all coping is healthy. Educating individuals on the importance of healthy coping skills, providing examples, and practicing these skills together will go a long way when it comes to developing healthy coping methods and self-care behaviors and habits.
Offering something to others develops a sense of genuine gratitude and gratefulness. Gratitude directly influences attitude. Having a healthy sense of appreciation for the benefits and blessings in our own lives often helps us manage our “stuck” thoughts and strengthens our sense of purpose. Giving to others also de-stigmatizes the need for help and collaboration from others when we are going through a difficult time, therefore increasing the likelihood that an individual will ask for help when it is needed.