At times when any of us sit back and reflect on our culture, it might seem like there is a dreary future and I definitely relate to that feeling. However, I also see so much positive change and growth in the people I work with and in our culture as a whole. The mindfulness movement, focus on personal growth, and increased acceptance of each other as people lead me to feel more optimistic and hopeful about our ability to change direction and head down emotionally healthier paths.
As many of you know from reading my blogs or knowing me personally, I strongly believe in the influence of language in shaping the way we see the world and ourselves. As such, for this blog, I will focus on specific ways to talk with your child to increase resilience.
The cornerstone in using language to build resilience is to first approach situations with empathy and caring and validate your child’s feelings. Then assist the child/teen in finding a solution to the situation if there is one. If there is not, it can be a great example of a time to change the way we think about the situation to feel or cope better. Another key part in using language to build resilience is through the interpersonal connection of being in the situation together, you want to let the child know that they are not alone and that you can help by providing support or ideas.
Some examples of phrases that promote resiliency are the following:
- “There is always a solution”
- “When we think about something from many different angles, we can figure out what to do”
- “I’m here to help”
- “Someone is always there to help”
- “Sometimes life is challenging but we learn valuable things from our challenges”
- “All feelings are okay and they come and go, even if they don’t feel so good to have them.”
- “Sometimes things happen that we do not understand yet.”
- “If we can’t figure it out, we can always ask for help.”
- “I’m feeling frustrated right now, I feel like taking some deep breaths might help me feel better, can you do it too?”
- “If we can’t change the situation, we can always change how we think about it”
- “Things will be okay, things will work out”
- “You can get through anything”
- “You can do anything for a short while”
- “I’m always here to talk and to listen”
- "You can control the way you react and deal with things”
- “I will love you no matter what happens”
- “While I know two people were involved, let’s focus on what you can do to improve the situation, rather than on the other person.”
- “We can only control ourselves and the way we react/handle things”
- “We all have bad days, we just have to keep going and do the best we can”
- “We all make mistakes, the best thing to do is try and learn from them”
The key things to try and avoid are doing things that exacerbate your child/teen’s fears or negative reaction to a situation. These are reactions like the following:
- “This is terrible, we can never figure this out!”
- “Nothing will ever get better”
- “It’s all that other kids fault”
- “He’s such a bully, there’s no point in trying to be nice to him”
All or Nothing Patterns:
- “It’s always like that, it will always stay the same”
- “Things never work out for our family.”
- “It will never get better because something is wrong with you!”
- “We have terrible luck.”
These are just some ideas of ways to use language to help your child build their ability to cope with difficult life events and have healthier emotional regulation skills. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!
Thank you for reading!