Resilience is the ability people develop to cope with difficult, scary, painful, or disappointing situations or events without sinking or breaking down.
On another side, resilience is built from those of internal and external experiences, Which in turn are affected by the environment. Given this, it is no surprise that this skill set can be trained and developed. In fact, they have been since childhood.
Tips for encouraging the development of resilience in boys and girls
Below we will see five guidelines to facilitate the development of emotional intelligence and therefore resilience in children.
1. Facilitate experiments
Social interaction is the vehicle by which we understand the world and ourselves. It also promotes autonomy and choice, characteristics of a resilient person.
With a secure bond of affection, the child has the freedom to explore the world because he knows that there is a reliable, stable and close figure; it must be expressed in the way he reacts to difficult experiences.
This is why the verbal and non-verbal contact with the figures of affection is fundamental: the caresses, the eye contact, the tone and the words that one chooses. Resilience is how we deal with affection, which is why affection directly affects our emotional regulation throughout life.
It is crucial that it allows you to symbolically live various experiences with a different emotional charge; these affect emotional development, facilitating spaces to, among other things, tolerate frustration, solve problems or generate ideas.
Having the ability to explore various spaces outside the home such as parks, shops, going to the supermarket and of course the school context, involves interacting with different types of people in various situations, so cognitive flexibility develops, A key factor in coping with crises and regulating emotions, as it allows them to adapt to change.
2. Be an example
Children they learn from how adults react to adversity. They are born observers, and this is a great source of meaningful learning.
Many times we think that being small doesn’t make us aware of our emotional reactions, but these are precisely the same ones that grab us the most easily. If we overreact to a problem, utter catastrophic words, or have defeatist attitudes, the child learns that in the face of these situations such intensity and type of emotion is attributed to him.
If, on the other hand, we arouse emotions that occur in a regulated and solution-focused manner, the child will also internalize it. For example, instead of saying: now what are we going to do, there is no way out! we can say, “Even if we don’t know what to do now, we are sure to think of something.”
3. Validate emotions
We often believe, because we have been taught it this way, that negative emotions should not be expressed. If a child gets angry, we say “don’t get angry”; if she cries, “don’t cry”; if something has happened to him that affects him, “nothing happens”; if you are afraid: “do not be afraid” … and we teach them that feeling these kinds of emotions is bad and the way to resolve them is calm, then they do not learn to deal with those emotions or to give them a place in a natural way in their experiences.
We validate the emotions by helping the emotional expression: “I guess you are angry or sad”, “you are afraid” … In addition, you must give a space where you can freely express the emotion, and ask : “What happened?”, “What do you think?”, “Do you feel any discomfort in your body?” … Soonwe will also help to discriminate emotions: Let them learn to differentiate between anger, sadness, frustration, etc.
4. Guide the emotional experience
Once the emotions are validated, we can suggest alternatives to manage them..
We can give examples where we were afraid: “Would a hug help you relax a bit?”. Once the physiological activation is relaxed a little (for example by a hug or a caress or by drinking a glass of water), we can propose a solution: “when do you feel safe and courageous?” Depending on your answer, we can fit you into the situation, and if you don’t know, we can give you examples where we have seen it safe, this will help you find internal resources to facilitate adaptation. .
Finally, once the child has identified what he feels and his resources, we can suggest actions that help regulate the intensity of the emotion. For example, doing breathing exercises, reading, and doing specific actions that increase safety. If we take the example of COVID-19, it could be a hand wash instead of “don’t touch!” Guiding the experience does not mean being a manager but proposing, asking questions and making decisions together.
5. Practice empathy
We can also learn from the experiences of others, this includes developing listening and generosity. Adapted to the age of the child, we can also tell him what happens to us when we go through a difficult time, and allow him to bring something, either practical help or an idea to improve the situation.
In the same way, share the experiences of other children who have gone through difficult times and have been successful in overcoming or foster experiences (for example, sharing food, toys, or time with people who are having difficulty). Metaphors are also a great vehicle for putting themselves in the other’s shoes, through stories, resilient characters they can relate to.
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