Life is filled with ups and downs, and helping our children, youth and teens navigate challenges they will inevitably face academically and personally is a crucial aspect of supporting the whole child. As we strive to prepare them for an ever-changing world, focusing on developing strategies for resilience, adaptability and embracing a growth mindset can set our students up for success.
As we head into a busy second half of the school year, filled with activities, events, college acceptance letters, performances, competitions, and much more, IUSD’s Counseling and Mental Health and Wellness teams have provided the following tips for families. These helpful tips are designed to support students and help them cultivate skills that foster resiliency, adaptability, and a growth mindset, especially when facing disappointments, social comparisons or academic and interpersonal challenges.
Acknowledge and Validate Feelings:
The first step in helping children build strategies for resilience is to create an open and supportive environment. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know it's okay to experience disappointment, frustration, or anger. Validating their emotions helps them develop emotional intelligence and a sense of self-awareness.
Encourage a Growth Mindset:
Encourage a mindset that views challenges as opportunities for growth. Teach your children that setbacks are not failures but rather stepping stones to success. Emphasize the value of effort and perseverance, promoting the idea that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.
Foster Strategies to Manage Disappointment or Frustration:
Help children develop strategies for handling disappointment and frustration by practicing mindfulness. This could include deep breathing exercises, journaling, or engaging in activities that bring them joy. Encourage them to express their feelings constructively and seek solutions to problems.
Help Mitigate Social Comparisons:
Social comparisons, whether it be related to grades, college acceptance, social media, who has what, or appearance, can lead to negative feelings and self-doubt. Encourage your children and teens to focus on their individual progress and achievements rather than comparing themselves to others. Foster a sense of self-worth based on their unique strengths and talents. You could even try the 21-Day Happiness Challenge with your family!
Proactively Embrace Academic and Other Challenges:
At some point in every student’s academic career, they may not get the grades they hoped for or into their first choice for college, which can be disheartening or frustrating. Shift the focus from outcomes to the process of learning and trying. Help them set realistic goals, break tasks into manageable steps, and celebrate small victories along the way. Remind them that unexpected curveballs do not define their worth or potential but serve as an opportunity to adapt and pivot.
Promote Healthy Relationships:
Interpersonal challenges are a natural part of growing up. Teach your children effective communication skills, conflict resolution, and the importance of empathy. Encourage them to build a supportive network of friends who value and respect each other.
Children often learn by example. Demonstrate resilience in your own life by openly sharing how you manage challenges. Let them witness your determination, adaptability, and commitment to personal growth. As their first teachers, your guidance and actions serve as a powerful model for building resilience.
Emphasize the Importance of Adaptability:
The ability to adapt to change is a crucial skill in today's fast-paced world. Teach your children to embrace new experiences, learn from failures, and adjust their strategies when faced with obstacles. In IUSD we often say “F.A.I.L.” stands for First Attempt in Learning!
Emphasize that adaptability is a key ingredient for success in any endeavor.