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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

KidsMatter 2 Us – What really fosters resilience in children and teens?


One unexpected consequence of the pandemic has been the current emphasis on teaching children and teens to be resilient. Resilience is the quality that allows people to accept when bad things happen, bounce back from adversity, learn from mistakes, keep their lives in perspective, and thrive – no matter what life throws at them.

For some, resilience is second nature; but for others, it must be intentionally learned. Researchers are taking a hard look at what actually fosters resilience in children. Can parents and educators intentionally create an environment where resilience grows? Yes!

Search Institute (https://searchinstitute.org) researchers have identified Developmental Relationships as being a key component in the development of resilience in children and teens.

Developmental Relationships have five characteristics that create an adult-child connection that results in resilience. These relationships:

  • Express Care. The adult shows the child they care by being dependable, warm, attentive, and encouraging.
  • Challenge Growth. The adult expects the best of the child, holds them accountable when necessary, stretches them to try new things, and helps them reflect on mistakes.
  • Provide Support. The adult helps the child navigate difficult situations, advocates for them as needed, empowers them to take charge of their lives, and sets boundaries that keep the child on track.
  • Expand Possibilities. The adult inspires the child to see their potential, connects them to people that can help them grow, and provides experiences that help them imagine a world of options for their future.

It is never too early (or late) to foster resilience in children and teens. Help them develop a skillset that will serve them the rest of their lives by intentionally looking for ways to challenge and expand children’s perceptions of themselves and what they can do.

For more information and ideas for involving and empowering kids and teens, contact KidsMatter.

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Nina Menis
Nina Menis
Nina M. Menis serves as CEO & Executive Director of KidsMatter. Nina grew up in Naperville and enjoyed raising a family in Naperville. Nina has worked in advancement for both public and private P-20 educational institutions and area nonprofits for more than 30 years. Contact Nina (pronounced nine-eh) at nina@kidsmatter2us.org or (630) 864-3974.