Do you ever worry about your teen? Has your heart ever broken piece by piece watching them struggle with pain, illness, anxiety, depression, loss, or any other hurt? It’s awful to watch your kids go through hard things, and even worse when you can’t fix it for them. Even harder, when they don’t seem to have the strength to fight for themselves.
I’ve been there. It hurts. I’ve cried enough mom tears to fill a lake. I’ve walked alongside my own kids as our family has dealt with one major blow after another from autism, physical handicaps, terminal illnesses, major surgeries, loss, trauma, and everything in between. I’ve seen how hard this world can be.
As a psychologist, I’ve worked with countless families whose kids have experienced loss, trauma, suicide attempts, or gone through the pain of depression and anxiety. It doesn’t even have to be something that severe for it to cause hurt and be painful for your kids. You know it. You’ve seen it. Sometimes, life hurts.
Covid-19, riots, school shut-downs, power outages… there is so much going on in the world right now and our kids feel it. It comes with a cost. Do your kids have the ability to manage that cost?
There is no way to get through this 2020-2021 season of life really well unless your resiliency is strong. Resiliency isn’t something we think about much. We don’t realize it’s actually something that gets built over time. Much like one brick gets placed on top of another as you build the foundation of your home, resiliency needs to be built. It’s critical. Your input as a parent goes a long way in helping your child build that foundation.
I hear stories about when that foundation isn’t strong enough. Many come through my counseling office doors, others are just friends and family who share their stories, but I hear when the foundation has been shaken and the resiliency runs out. It’s not your fault or your child’s fault, but rather the situation they are going through is taking more resiliency than they currently have. Their resources can't meet the demand. But you can help change that.
When the resiliency bucket runs dry, anxiety, depression, apathy, hopelessness, helplessness, grab hold. That empty bucket messes with your mind. It messes with your child’s mind. It becomes a trap where the walls slowly seem to compress getting tighter and tighter. It gets harder to breathe and think and do. It programs your mind and keeps you stuck in a hard place. I hear so many stories of teens who just aren't thriving right now. Their grades are tanking. They've lost their joy and carefree attitude.
They need more resiliency, and you can never have too much. Start building that foundation when they are little. Keep building it throughout their childhood. Then, continue to encourage them to build it as a young adult. Resiliency matters.
I wish I knew 20 years ago what I know about resiliency today because I could have been a better mom for my kids as they dealt with hard stuff when they were younger. It might have made future hardships less difficult to manage. But we can only give what we ourselves already have and know, and I didn’t know enough back then. But I know more now and I know how to help build resiliency.
Resiliency skills are life giving. I talk about it everywhere I go. My family needs it. Your family needs it. Any bit of resiliency is great, but you need more…just in case you experience tragedy, trauma, loss…. a pandemic. When hard things hit, your resiliency tank gets drained. Your resources can get depleted.
Kids don’t have the luxury of years of experience with hardship and recovery. That’s one piece of building resiliency. Because they don’t have that, it makes them so much more vulnerable. But, there are parts of resiliency that you can be building right now.
Did you realize you can help your teen build their resiliency? It’s not too late. You can help them build that foundation to help them weather storms at any age. You can give them skills and experience that help them form a protective wall when the storms hit.
In my upcoming online course for parents, I will walk you step by step through ways to help build resiliency, for yourself, for your kids, for your family. But don’t wait for that, start now. You can start with:
My heart hurts when I see and hear about kids stuck struggling, whether it’s the day to day stuff or the big stuff. I know they don’t have to stay there. They can move forward and they can overcome, but everyone needs a champion. There is nobody better suited than you for your child. They need someone to encourage, support and nudge them when the going gets hard. You can do that.
Help your kids build their resiliency. You can’t make their problems go away, but you can help them build the skills to navigate them and lessen the blow. Make resiliency building be an intentional part of your parenting. Start by doing one thing today.
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