Building resilience in kids

Building resilience in kids

Posted 2015-05-16 by Felicity Banksfollow
Mental health is becoming increasingly important for our kids. Telling a child they're special is great, but there's plenty more we can do - and it's never too late to start.

The Resilience Doughnut is a model that recognises the interactions between internal and external forces. Despite the name, inner strength doesn't just come from inside - it can be built up by drawing on a person's environment.

Resilience - the ability to overcome difficulties in life - comes from a mixture of self-worth, the support of loved ones, and confidence in one's own abilities.

This model identifies seven key areas a person can draw on to help them build their sense of resilience - and the best part is, only three are needed. We parents can choose what works for us, and focus on that.

1. The Parent Factor

Not surprisingly, parents have a lot of power to build resilience in their children. Young children need to know that they're loved unconditionally. Through consistent discipline, parents also teach self-control and give children a sense of safety.

My Family


2. The Skill Factor

When a child knows they're good at something, that builds their sense of power over their environment, and dispels hopelessness.

Practising Skills is Fun


3. The Family and Identity Factor

Something as simple as family pictures on the wall is a constant reminder to children that they have a place where they belong.

Four Generations of Extended Family


4. The Education Factor

As children build their skills and understanding of the world, they feel empowered - and at the same time, they learn that practicing something leads to an increase in knowledge and skills. This motivates them to continue putting effort into tasks that seem daunting.

5. The Peer Factor

Friendships teach social skill, empathy, and the concept that humans need one another. It's all right to ask for help - and giving help to others (including sharing toys) is part of belonging in a group.

My Daughter and Her Cousins


6. The Community Factor

Children are supported by a wider group of people, so they know they have plenty of positive social interactions to call on in a crisis.

At a Community Event


7. The Money Factor

As they grow older, children learn the relationship between gainful employment and getting things they want, which is empowering.


The Resilience Doughnut isn't just for kids. We can all improve our mental health - with a little help from our friends.

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