Building Resilience and Overcoming Obstacles within Families
/ By Mary Dournaee, Beautiful Mathematics Curriculum Developer and San Mateo Parents Club Webmaster
In today's hectic world, children and parents alike often experience a multitude of challenges in a typical day. Challenges can easily become frustrations with big emotions and undesirable behaviors. The ability to easily overcome setbacks and manage emotions is integral in building resilience. With resilience comes a greater sense of control and optimism in our lives. This stretches our willingness to take risks and put ourselves out there. Fortunately, resilience can be developed with focused effort and consistent hard work. Practice the tips below to build resilience.
Expect to face challenges and adjust goals or find ways to adapt. Model constructive responses for your child when you're coping with frustration.
Focus on solving the problem instead of letting "analysis lead to paralysis". Know that sometimes the most helpful act is a simple reassuring hug or deep breath to retune the nervous system.
Cultivate strong relationships with friends and family and encourage children to do the same. Try not to withdraw from those who care during hard times. Accept help when needed.
Realize Healthy Habits.
Protect against stress by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and scheduling time to rest. Fit at least one family dinner into the schedule per week to build connections and realize healthy eating habits.
Utilize enjoyable outlets like reading, writing, hiking, and playing sports to express feelings and release tension.
Learn Life Lessons.
Turn negative experiences into positive life lessons. Avoid placing blame or feeling victimized by focusing on how to change things next time.
Develop a Sense of Purpose.
Find activities that bring meaning to your life. Spend time with family or volunteer for a worthy cause. For a child, this may include donating lightly used toys and games to a local nonprofit.
Take pride in abilities and accomplishments. Recognize and celebrate personal strengths.
A healthy sense of humor can relieve stress and improve mood during tough times.
A positive, hopeful outlook supports taking strategic risks and leaning into challenges.
Watch out for common triggers of frustration: hunger, exhaustion, transitions, feeling misunderstood, and unexpected or new situations. Remember that tools for building resilience may vary among members of the family. For example, a highly sensitive child may be overwhelmed easily and benefit from a quiet, cozy spot for collecting thoughts and adapting to overload. Conversely, a super active kid may have trouble sitting still and need to channel energy by jumping, shaking, squeezing, or shooting balls. Whatever temperments exist in the family, practice resilience together and enjoy the great feeling of accomplishment that comes with overcoming difficult obstacles.
For a creative family activity to boost resilience, try this Family Design Challenge to practice problem solving, teamwork, and presentation skills.
Photo Credit: Loren Kerns on Flickr