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How to Cultivate Resilience in Teens

How to Cultivate Resilience in Teens, What Is Resilience?, How to Build Resilience in Teens,

The world out there is tough. It’s not always easy for your teen to navigate it with peace of mind. Yet, that doesn’t mean your teen has to feel as if they are a victim or at constant risk. Instead, consider life’s difficulties as an opportunity to help your teen build resilience.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is a person’s ability to adapt to and recover from stress and adversity. Every person has to go through challenging times, but knowing how to navigate those challenges isn’t always easy. For teens, it’s even more complicated when they are faced with life-changing situations and decisions. 

However, each teen has a different constitution and temperament and the resources within their personality to learn, grow, and make good decisions. If you help your adolescent navigate the challenges they are facing now, chances are good those skills will follow them for years to come.

How to Build Resilience in Teens

Helping your teen navigate challenges and setbacks means providing them with the tools to express themselves, understand their emotions, and make wise decisions. Resilience does not mean a child never gets sad or never fails. It also does not mean they won’t experience disappointment or loss. Resilience means that when these challenges arise, your teen will be able to make it through and retain their sense of hope and well-being.

To help your teen to build up the ability to overcome challenges in a healthy manner, focus on these areas first.

  • Recognize that tough times happen to everyone

It’s easy to believe that, as a parent, you can protect your child from all of the adversity out there. You can give them answers to their questions, meet their needs, and solve their problems. Yet, this does not support their ability to manage real-world challenges.

In other words, your teen will go through challenges, and even though you cannot control the challenges, you can be there to help your teen navigate what comes next. Encourage your child to be the best version of themselves during those hard times. Help them see their options and then make better decisions about their future based on their experiences.

  • Teach your child to help others

Learning does not just happen when your teen faces adversity. It also happens when they help others who are being challenged. Foster in your child a desire to help others to overcome their challenges.

When you teach your child to help others, they’ll be more willing to ask for help when they need it. They’ll also build the compassion and empathy to better navigate the heartaches in the world. Teach them mindfulness as a technique to reflect calmly on what they are experiencing and what others experience.

  • Create and maintain a routine

When your teen experiences a loss of some kind, teach them that it’s important to pause to acknowledge their thoughts and feelings. At the same time, it’s also important to return to a gentle routine to maintain a sense of normalcy.

That includes having a routine for school work, spending time with friends, and engaging in other activities important to them. Allow them to develop a routine that they feel works well, and then point them in the direction of maintaining that routine. Routines can also help with minimizing anxiety in teens.

  • Teach self-care

For many adults, self-care is a struggle. You have so much to do and so many pressures that you may not have time to meet your basic needs. Self-care is necessary for all people, especially teens who are facing both physical and emotional challenges at a rapid pace. For both yourself and your teen, encourage the following:

  • Ensure there’s a routine for enough sleep
  • Provide nutrient-rich foods that support brain function
  • Encourage periods of relaxation and having fun
  • Make sure to ample exercise throughout the day
  • Develop habits that will ensure your day-to-day needs are met

Self-care also means taking a break from difficult situations. It may mean encouraging your teen to have good relationships with friends who they know they can talk to. It also means teaching your child to recognize when the situations they are in require professional help, such as a therapist or doctor. 

Know When and How to Get Your Teen Help

Cultivating a good relationship with your teen is a valuable way of supporting their recovery from challenges and stress. Yet, there are many times when a person can become “stuck” and need professional guidance to put them back on track. At Willow Creek Behavioral Health, we can offer that support. Set up some time with our team to discuss your teen’s mental health needs. 

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