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The 7 C's of Resilence


“Building resilience — the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress — can help our children manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty,” explains the American Psychological Association. “However, being resilient does not mean that children won't experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common when we have suffered major trauma or personal loss, or even when we hear of someone else's loss or trauma.”

The good news is that with your help, children can develop resiliency. In fact, Kenneth Ginsburg, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, wrote an entire book on the mater - Building Resilience in Children and Teens.

In it, Ginsburg explains how this is possible by using the 7 C’s of resilience.

1. Competence

When you notice your child doing something right, acknowledge it so that they can continue to develop specific skills, and repeat the behavior.

You can help them develop competency by:

  • Letting your children make decisions.

  • Encouraging them to focus on their strengths.

  • Using mistakes as learning opportunities.

  • Not comparing them to other children.

2. Confidence

For them to navigate the world, young people must have confidence in their abilities to solve problems.

Parents can nurture confidence by:

  • Praising and recognizing specific achievements.

  • Encouraging qualities like kindness, fairness, and persistence.

  • Pushing them to achieve goals, but not so much that they’ll feel uncomfortable.

3. Connection

Being a part of a community, such as family, team, or class, lets children know that they aren’t alone and have a support system to rely on if they struggle.

You can help children strengthen relationships by:

  • Developing healthy ways to express their emotions and handle conflicts.

  • Spending quality time together as a family.

  • Encouraging them to join an extracurricular activity or volunteer.

  • Creating a safe and secure home.

4. Character

Children must know the difference between right and wrong. You can start by helping them develop a strong set of morals and values by:

  • Being a role model by displaying empathy.

  • Using teachable, like having an honest conversation about racism after watching the news.

  • Incorporating the “Golden Rule” on a daily basis.

5. Contribution

“Young people who contribute to the well-being of others will receive gratitude rather than condemnation,” explains from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “They will learn that contributing feels good and may therefore more easily turn to others, and do so without shame.”

You can foster contribution in your children by:

  • Communicate to them that are people in this world who do not have what they need.

  • Teach the importance of helping others and provide opportunities for this to happen.

  • Model generosity.

6. Coping

We all need strategies to help manage stress and overcome challenges. Some suggestions are:

  • Asking for help when they can’t solve the problem.

  • Walking away from the situation until you have a clear head.

  • Engaging in healthy stress relief tactics like physical activity, reading, drawing, or playing.

7. Control

Finally, for a young person to be truly resilient, they must realize that they have some sort of control over their actions and decisions. With that in mind, allow your children to make more of their own decisions. If it wasn’t the best choice, let them figure out what went wrong and what they would do differently in the future.

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