Youth Resiliency: Helping Kids Get Through Challenging Times


Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from adversity, and while it is an essential life skill for people of all ages, it is particularly crucial during the tender years of childhood and adolescence. 

However, many of today’s youth have struggled to develop the resilience they need. Rates of anxiety and depression among children have spiked in recent years, and over 2.7 million children are living with severe to major depression. 

This has happened for a variety of reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for kids to socialize and build normal routines, while the overwhelming presence of social media also presented a unique new stressor. Escalating academic expectations and concerning global news have also made it difficult for children to bounce back from failures. 

Children need to develop the capacity to recuperate from stress, arguably now more than ever. The question is, what can you (as a parent or educator) do to facilitate resilience in children? 

Let’s delve into some strategies to furnish your child’s emotional toolkit and help them stay strong and maintain their well-being, even in tumultuous times. 

Step 1: Foster a Supportive Home Environment

A nurturing, safe, and open home environment is key to building resilience in youth. Studies have shown that a positive childhood family environment is strongly associated with higher levels of resilient coping in adulthood. 

This home environment provides children with the space to identify and express their emotions. Throughout this process, they’ll develop the skills to navigate these feelings and become more comfortable with them, which ultimately builds resilience. 

There are a variety of ways to create a supportive environment at home for your child. These include: 

  • Open communication: Encourage your children to talk about their day and share feelings and worries without judgment. Listen actively and show empathy and understanding throughout the conversation. 
  • Promote emotional literacy: Helping your children label their emotions will make them easier to process. Use books, movies, and real-life situations as teaching moments to discuss various feelings. 
  • Consistent routines: Routine gives kids a sense of security, so be consistent with things like meals, homework, and bedtime. 
  • Show unconditional love: Make sure your children know that your love doesn’t depend on their accomplishments. They should feel loved, even when they make mistakes or face setbacks.
  • Model healthy coping skills: Children learn how to handle stress, disappointment, and failure from their parents. Your actions speak louder than words, so showing them how you manage these feelings is incredibly beneficial. 


Step 2: Openly Work on Problem-Solving

Kids are observant learners and will keenly note how you approach challenges and solve problems. By seeing you employ critical thinking skills and explore various situations, they’ll learn invaluable life lessons to build resiliency. 

Developing problem-solving skills early in life is crucial. It gives children the ability to turn negatives into positives, transforming adversity into opportunities for learning and growth. It also builds their confidence to tackle life’s hurdles and promotes resilience. 

Encouraging creativity is key for learning problem-solving skills. Give your children a chance to brainstorm and develop various possible solutions when they encounter a problem. Provide guidance as necessary, but let them handle their own problems and navigate the problem-solving process on their own. 

Be sure to encourage them not to give up when things don’t go as planned. Work on teaching them that failures are an opportunity to learn and improve. 


Step 3: Set Examples of Healthy Self-Care

Self-care is particularly crucial to maintaining mental and physical well-being, especially in our fast-paced digital society. Setting a healthy example for your children will teach them to incorporate self-care into their routines, too. 

There are many different types of self-care. Physical self-care includes regular exercise, eating a nutritious and tasty diet, and getting enough sleep. Mental and emotional self-care includes spending time in nature, pursuing hobbies, and traveling, for example. 

In recent studies, self-care practices among university students have been correlated with better resilience. Even if your child is young, now is the time to work on creating those self-care building blocks. 

Because children often emulate the habits of their parents, they will be more likely to prioritize self-care later in life if they see you prioritizing it. Doing things like going for a morning run, enjoying your favorite book, or even taking a vacation shows children that self-care is not selfish, but essential to their holistic well-being. 


Step 4: Set an Optimistic Tone

As a parent, you are the barometer of your home, significantly influencing the emotional climate within. You have the power to decide whether your environment fosters negativity or radiates positivity. 

Optimism is a cornerstone for mental well-being. A positive outlook can buffer stress, increase resilience, and lead to better emotional health. Optimistic outlooks may even increase your lifespan by 11 to 15%, according to researchers from Boston University’s School of Medicine. 

A positive atmosphere starts with the way your family communicates and parents. When problems arise, try to highlight the positives of the situation, and focus on solutions rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of the situation. Practicing gratitude as a family also nurtures positivity and keeps things in perspective. 


Step 5: Know When to Get Professional Help

Parents play a significant role in building resilience in youth – but there might come a time when additional support is required. Recognizing when your child may need professional emotional help is a vital part of their emotional well-being and development. 

This is where services like Healthy Campus can help. Healthy Campus connects students with the on-campus professional health services they need, including counseling, mental health assessments, and more. We offer a safe, supportive way for students to seek the health they need from certified professionals. 

A key component of Healthy Campus’s services is our facilitation of screenings for anxiety and depression. These help us identify underlying issues and ensure that students receive appropriate and timely interventions. Additionally, we offer group therapy services, which help students realize that they are not alone in their struggles and learn from the experiences of others. 


In Summary

Proactively building resilience in youth gives our children the skills they need to navigate emotional challenges. Today’s world can feel scary and overwhelming, but by building resilience, children can bounce back stronger. 

Healthy Campus is firmly committed to this mission. We ensure that students have access to both physical and mental health services to support their overall well-being. We also provide a huge range of essential health services including annual wellness visits, diagnostic testing, immunizations, and vision and hearing screenings, all conveniently located on school campuses. 

Reach out today to learn more about our services.

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