Bouncing back after adversity is a skill you can build

Everyone has experienced life’s ups and downs. Things don’t always go their way or as planned. Have you ever wondered why some people have trouble moving forward after experiencing a difficult situation while other people are able to overcome their troubles and carry on?

Everyone has experienced life’s ups and downs.

Things don’t always go their way or as planned. Have you ever wondered why some people have trouble moving forward after experiencing a difficult situation while other people are able to overcome their troubles and carry on?

A person’s ability to cope with hardship and change is based on a concept called resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and cope with adversity. In other words, it is the ability to react positively and adapt well to change when things go poorly.

There are a number of factors that influence resiliency. Many of them, such as the family in which he was raised and the conditions in which he lived, the amount of money he has to live on and the loss of health or loved ones, are beyond a person’s control.

However, skills associated with resiliency give people the ability to control their reaction to these events and their attitudes toward them. Also, people who are resilient are more likely to have the confidence to seek support from others in times of trouble.

Children who are resilient typically have at least one significant person in their life — a parent, family member or other caregiver. You may be that significant person.

Parents play a vital role in helping children respond well — even flourish — when life throws them a curve ball. What happens in infancy and early childhood plays a critical role in the development of emotions, perceptions and behaviors, and forever effects well-being. Helping children develop self-confidence, problem solving skills, emotional regulation and empathy skills will equip them to be successful in life.

The best teaching tool is to develop a strong relationship with the child. Providing loving care and meeting a child’s needs creates an emotional bond Play is not only fun; it is the best way for children to learn to solve problems, build relationships and foster learning and well-being. Play is how children cope with understanding their world.

Children are unique. Know your child’s temperament. Some are quiet and sensitive. Others are boisterous and courageous. Tailor activities and ideas to match the child’s personality.

Parenting is one of society’s most important roles. Like any other important work, staying healthy, balanced and connected with others helps parents be flexible and resilient. The following are some tips:

• Keep in touch with other parents and make a time to connect with friends and family members, even if it is only a phone call during nap time.

• Look for resources in the community to learn more about fostering resiliency.

• Like other import ant roles, parenting and care-giving can be stressful. Little breaks and small vacations on a regular basis may be just what is needed to keep going, re-energize and practice self-care.

• Get enough sleep, exercise and eat well.

• Arrange for a babysitter on occasion.

• Don’t take on too much — too many structured activities for toddlers and preschoolers are not necessary and can wear out parent and child. Play and free time are very valuable to both.

Alberta Mental Health Board website offers information and resources. It also offers the Bounce Back Books that can be downloaded for ideas on teaching and supporting resiliency in children from birth to four years of age.

Check it out and keep bouncing!

Positive Parenting appears every week in LIFE. This week’s column was written by Linda Herron, an outreach worker with Family Services of Central Alberta. Herron can be reached by calling 403-343-6400 or

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