Helping your teen to navigate through difficult challenges and still come out resilient, knowing they will recover after a set-back, is an important part of parenting.

When a teen has confidence, they are equipped to make decisions. When they have a better understanding of the world around them it’s easier to risk opportunities which helps them exceed in life.

A study by Harvard University’s Centre on the Developing Child found that:

  • Resilience requires supportive relationships and opportunities for skill-building.
  • Resilience results from a dynamic interaction between internal predispositions and external experiences.
  • Learning to cope with manageable threats to our physical and social well-being is critical for the development of resilience.
  • Some children respond in more extreme ways, therefore individual traits need to be acknowledged.
  • Individuals never completely lose their ability to improve their coping skills, and they often learn how to adapt to new challenges.

Research has identified a set of factors that help children achieve positive outcomes in the face of significant adversity. Individuals who demonstrate resilience in response to one form of adversity may not necessarily do so in response to another. Yet when communities and families strengthen these factors, they optimize resilience across multiple contexts. Factors include:

  • Providing supportive adult-child relationships;
  • Scaffolding learning so the child builds a sense of self-efficacy and control;
  • Helping strengthen adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities; and
  • Using faith and cultural traditions as a foundation for hope and stability.

Good self-esteem activities that parents can apply according to Dr Serahni Symington, Child and Adolescent Counselling and Play Therapist, include the following:

  • Encourage independence to make their own decisions about how they dress, for instance.
  • Having responsibilities at home like walking the dog or making dinner.
  • Enable problem-solving by assisting your child in making choices in a safe space.  This will help equip them to make good decisions when they find themselves in less protective situations.
  • Encouragement is good, but over-praise can do more damage than good if they lack the ability to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Praise effort not outcome. Your teen can control their effort, but not always the outcome. Set realistic bars for outcomes.
  • Emotional expression is crucial. TALK about emotions and feelings. Explore all aspects of anger, grief, fear, joy and happiness in a thoughtful and logical way.
  • Help develop positive self-talk. How teens talk about themselves says a lot about how they see themselves. Help them identify thoughts that aren’t true by pointing out how being overly harsh can be detrimental. Teach them to reframe the irrational with something more realistic.
  • Lead by example. It’s important to model self-confidence and resilience during challenging times as children look to their parents as role models.

“Identity is grounded in feeling safe in your environment. Nurturing growth and believing in yourself, is an important stepping stone to raising a confident teen with a positive identity, “ Dr Symington concludes.

Wingu Academy realises the importance of encouraging a positive identity.  This is why they established a Wellness Hub that assist both students and parents with guidelines and counselling to find a healthy balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance.