An adolescent’s day to day can be very stressful and demanding, especially when school is in session. There are multiple things that weigh on their minds. For example, their academic success, future and college aspirations, athletic performance, peer pressure, parental expectations and demands, and relationship issues to name a few. This daily pressure adds an insurmountable stress on the adolescent mind which, in turn, requires action to address the threat of not measuring up.
Therefore, it is important to help the adolescent build what is commonly known as resilience, which is the ability to become flexible to uncomfortable and/or demanding situations/experiences. Another way to look at it is the ability to “bounce back.” There will always be stressful and demanding situations that cause stress and weigh heavily on the mind. Building resilience will help the adolescent to adapt and overcome demanding or uncomfortable situations and experiences.
Here are a few ways that you can help an adolescent build resilience in the day-to-day offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics commonly referred to as the Seven Cs:
- Competence: Identify and remark on what the adolescent is doing right. Measuring up is important. Point out areas in which the adolescent is strong.
- Confidence: Young people need confidence to be able to navigate the world, think outside the box, and recover from challenges.
- Connection: Social connections with other people, schools, and communities provide security that allows growth for independence and fosters development of creative solutions.
- Character: Adolescents have a strong sense of morality. Explore their perception on right and wrong, and hold them to living a life of integrity
- Contribution: Contributing to the well-being of others will receive gratitude rather than condemnation. They will learn that contributing feels good.
- Coping: Increasing the ability to deal with everything life throws is important. Rule of Thumb: if skills used create more problems to the current situation and/or causes harm to self or others, then it has only increased stress and didn’t address the original problem. Help adolescent explore a variety of coping skills to put in their toolbox.
- Control: Building a sense of earned privileges through encouraging adolescent to demonstration responsibility can increase a sense of individual control and independence.
Adapted from Ginsburg KR, Jablow MM. Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings. 2nd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011
Leo Preston | Intern