Bouncing and stretching: building resilience in children and youth

Learn how you can help your child learn to stretch their limits and bounce back when set-backs happen with these seven easy ways to build resilience in kids.

Children who understand they are in control of their own actions have an easier time bouncing back from life's challenges. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Children who understand they are in control of their own actions have an easier time bouncing back from life's challenges. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Control is one of the seven Cs of resilience: resilient children and youth know they are in control of their actions and the consequences of those actions. To build this resiliency, parents and caregivers can take an active role in teaching their children and youth that they are in control of their own actions, that things don’t just happen to them, and that as a result of this control, they are also responsible for the consequences of their actions. This is important because children and youth who understand they are in control of their own actions have an easier time bouncing back from life’s challenges.

Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg suggests several ways parents can help their children develop their sense of control:

  • Give Positive Attention: Notice your child/youth doing something good and tell them about it.
  • Appropriate Consequences: When disciplining, be sure to use consequences that are reasonable and related to the offense. In other words, make sure the consequence is connected to the misbehavior so the child will know how to correct it.
  • Plan Ahead: It can be hard to give appropriate consequences in the heat of the moment. Think about reasonable consequences ahead of time.
  • Family Meetings: Meet regularly as a family to make decisions (such as what to get someone for their birthday), brainstorm appropriate consequences with children/youth input, and provide a safe place for family members to talk.
  • Increase Kids Control: Allow children/youth to earn privileges and provide opportunities for them to make decisions within your parameters so they grow to trust their decision making skills.

For a deeper look at helping build control skills in children and youth, check out Building Resilience in Children and Teens by Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg.

For more information and resources about developing resiliency in children and youth, visit Fostering Resilience, the Search Institute, and the Devereux Center for Resilient Children.

For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

This is the seventh article in a series: Bouncing and Stretching: Building Resilience in Children and Youth, Building Competence in Children and Youth, Building Confidence in Children and Youth,  Building Connection in Children and Youth,  Building Character in Children and Youth, Building Contribution in Children and Youth and Building Coping Skills in Children and Youth.

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