Building Resiliency in Adolescents

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Resilience in Adolescents

Building resiliency in adolescents starts in childhood. Everyone wants his or her child to be successful and happy in life. Building resiliency in teenagers takes time with outside support from your community and school.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is the ability to handle problems and stress in life effectively. Resilient adolescents are able to overcome tragedy and challenges easily. They also recover from shock quickly. Those with resilience do not suffer from long lasting or psychopathological effects because of trauma.

Building Resiliency in Adolescents at Home

Developing resiliency in teenagers starts at home. It is crucial that parents provide the skills and tools for their teens to use in the future. As parents, you have many responsibilities when it comes to raising a child. Protective factors such as positive parenting styles, family support, and experience will help your child become a resilient adolescent.

  • Parenting Styles

When building resilience you need to become a sensitive parent who practices supportive and authoritative parenting. Encourage your children to have positive self-esteem. Educating on positive social and problem-solving skills benefits them when they become teenagers. Additionally, explaining that life is about transitions helps them feel more confident in the future.

  • Learn from Experience

Experience is life's biggest educator. Do not shield your children from stress or traumatic events. What they learn from these experiences will benefit them for many years. With every stressful situation handled, it will result in the ability to deal with future problems. These experiences will actually help your child resist stress as well.

  • Be Supportive

Another way to teach your child is to be supportive and available. This shows that you are there if he or she needs someone. It will give your child reassurance and confidence to deal with challenges. Helping with problems does not mean that you are not educating, it means that you are being supportive. As your child grows into an adolescent, he or she will have the courage to take on his or her own problems.

  • Space Between Children

Adolescents who come from big families with siblings close in age are less likely to be resilient when faced with a challenging life event. Parents are unable to provide adequate attention, support, and education to each child. This results in the adolescent facing stress with no knowledge or comfort.

  • Parent Psychopathology

If a parent has a mental illness or there is a domestic violence situation in the home, this will inhibit your children's ability to become resilient. These problems at home make it difficult for you or your spouse to be available to educate the skills needed in life. This is a time to have support from other sources within the community.

Building Resilience with Community

Having a supportive community is a protective factor for teenagers. It provides the teenager with many possibilities to turn to when in need of help. Just as teens get this assurance from parents, they are able to feel even more confident because they have a neighborhood to lean on.

  • Community Support

Engaging your children in community organizations such as church or other social groups are good ways to get involved. It gives your children the opportunity to meet new people who can become good role models. Society provides values, high self-esteem, and self-confidence. Taking part in extra-curricular activities presents teens with an outlet and with a sense of accomplishment.

Resilient Adolescents in School

Parents need to remain involved in school activities. Staying connected offers encouragement and ensures that your child does not get into the wrong crowd. High school is a difficult time, so when parents remain a constant and reassuring force, teens are more confident and feel happier.

  • Help from Teachers

Teachers can be a great option for boosting self-confidence and esteem. Many teachers have high expectations. This helps students continue to do their best and be proud of their accomplishments.

Be sure to attend parent-teacher conferences to hear about how your teen is doing while in class. Learn where his or her difficulties and strengths lie.

  • Focus on Strengths

When building resiliency in adolescents you want to focus on their strengths. Fostering those strengths will help build high self-esteem and confidence in their abilities. Teens with these characteristics are more likely to succeed because they are able to deal with obstacles effectively and easily.

Characteristics of Adolescent Resilience

Characteristics of Adolescent Resilience
Boundaries Equality Acceptance Empathy Self-efficacy Cultural awareness
Socially active Spiritual Problem solving Care for others Detail oriented Belief in success
Responsibility Social participation Adaptability Positive social interactions Confidence Resistance to stress
Building Resiliency in Adolescents