Building contribution in children and youth – A bouncing a stretching article

Learn how you can help your child learn to bounce back and stretch their limits when setbacks happen. Seven easy ways to build resilience in kids.

Working to help improve local communities can help youth develop a meaningful sense of purpose. Parents and caregivers can help children and youth see beyond themselves by providing and encouraging opportunities to give rather than to receive. Contribution is one of the 7 C’s of resilience. Parents and caregivers can take an active role in helping their child develop their sense of contribution. These contribution opportunities can help illustrate to children and youth that they can make a difference in their communities and the world.

Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg suggests that contribution is directly related to building resilience in children and youth because it provides them with a sense of purpose. Contribution is also intertwined with many of the other C’s of resilience such as:

Competence: Being able to learn new skills and abilities.

Confidence: Allowing opportunities to test their skills and abilities.

Connections: Providing opportunities to connect with people and places outside immediate circles.

Character: Developing traits such responsibility and caring.

Here are some tips to consider when helping build contribution in children and youth:

  • Talk about their interests and see what opportunities match up. Allow them to decide what they want to do and how they want to participate (with your guidance).
  • Allow them to carry out as much of the activity as possible, providing support when needed.
  • Think beyond good deeds and noble actions. Look for opportunities to include children and youth in idea sharing and decision making.

For a deeper look at helping build character 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, visit the Michigan State University Extension website. This is part five of the an article series: Bouncing and Stretching, Building Competence in Children and Youth, Building Confidence in Children and Youth,  Building Connection in Children and Youth and Building Character in Children and Youth.

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