How to Raise Resilient Children

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Coping with Stress

As your child encounters stressful situations during the course of their life, it is in their best interest to have developed the ability to adapt effectively to adversity. So what can you, as a parent, do to foster in your child the ability to cope?

There are three factors which broadly determine how your child will cope with stress in their life.

These are:

The temperament of your child - How your child naturally reacts to situations will have a lot to do with how your child copes with stress. Children with calm, easy-going, sociable dispositions who are willing to take initiative have a natural capacity to adapt to change and extract positive responses from others. Children who react emotionally and irritably to stressors do not cope as well because their highly emotional reactions will strain the patience of people around them. Intellectual ability of the child also plays a role. If your child is doing well at school, they will find the school experience rewarding and confidence-building, and this in turn may help offset the impact of a stressful home life.

Your personal relationship with your child - Your child will benefit from a close relationship with you if you provide affection and assistance and bring consistency, order and organization into the child's life. This fosters resilience. Of course, your personal relationship with your child is in some measure dependent on your child's personal characteristics. If you child is relaxed, socially responsive and able to deal with change, they will be easier to rear and more likely to enjoy positiverelationships with you and other significant others around them. But even if your child is not always easy to get along with and their temperament tends to be argumentative and reactive, they still may develop more attractive dispositions as a result of your continual attention and affection towards them.

The social support your child enjoys outside your immediate family - People in your child's life make a lot of difference to how your child is developing. Grandparent, teachers or trusted family friends who form a special relationship with your child can also promote resilience. Ideally, these people have good interpersonal skills in handling everyday stress and can model effective coping strategies to your child.

What can you do as a parent to raise a resilient child?

The simple things you can do to help your child cope with stress:


There are complex connections between heredity and environment. Taking this into account, you, as a parent, can influence your child's environment to help them cope with stress. You have the most impact on your child in day-to-day situations so be a positiverole model, help them develop positive temperamental characteristics, provide favorable parental experiences and include positive significant others in your child's life. You will find that this will help them cope better and develop resilience to stressful situations.

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