Resilience in Young People – Learning to Bounce – PART 1
By Fiona Cuskelly – Yin Health Mental Health Social Worker
There are many definitions of resilience, however they are all related to the young person’s capacity to overcome situations and being able to demonstrate strengths needed to cope with situations. It’s more than just coping – resilient people are prepared to seek new experiences and opportunities to achieve their goals.
Resilience is not about covering up your feelings – you feel what you feel for a reason. It’s about not letting it eat you up for days on end and knocking the confidence out of you. It means you move on. It means you keep trying … It means you don’t give up! I like the analogy that when young people are resilient they are able to cope pretty well with difficult situations and when things don’t go their way …. They ‘bounce back’.
I have been working in the child and adolescent mental health area for over 10 years and much of the work I do with young people is based on helping them to develop resilience and working with their families to encourage and foster this. It’s been reported that people who are able to respond to challenging situations with resilience are – healthier and live longer, happier in their relationships, more successful in school and work and less likely to experience mental health difficulties.
I think by just making a few minor changes – you will see great results flow through your family …
- When possible, make sure children are in a settled and regular routine.
- Children need sleep! Good quality sleep can mean the difference between you tearing your hair out! Ages 5-12 need 10-12 hours and ages 13-16 need around 8-10 hours. Good routine and relaxation before bed is beneficial (no screen time a couple of hours before bed).
- A healthy, varied diet of good quality food that is not processed and regular exercise is also very important. We want children to be playing outside or engaging in sports for about an hour a day.
- Play with your children, playing together is a great way to connect with them – it’s fun, increases their social skills, develops their imagination and physical abilities.
- Try and reduce T.V / Screen time (I know this is sometimes hard to do – remember … we are talking about when possible or realistic! I don’t want you feeling guilty all the time ….. like most amazing parents do!)
- Read or tell your children stories about compassion, kindness and understanding.
You can make an appointment to discuss this further or access a GP Mental Health Care Plan if eligible. We can’t protect young people from facing a bumpy journey through life … but we can help them cope better by fostering Resilience!
Stay tuned next month for some of the approaches you can take to develop resilience in your child.