“Resilience” is the ability to “bounce back” from difficult situations and to make healthier choices when coping with life’s challenges.
Research shows that resilient youth are less likely to have problems related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, gang participation, gambling, gaming or other potentially harmful behaviours.
The teenage years can be challenging, both for teens and for their parents. After all, this is a time filled with physical, emotional and social changes.
When you as parents support your teenager’s belief in their own worth, you can help them to cope with life’s challenges, to learn from their mistakes and build “resilience.”
You can play an important role in helping your teen to cope in positive ways including healthy eating, being physically active and getting enough sleep. It all starts with keeping the lines of communication open so your teen knows what is expected.
If you think your teen is having problems, let them know you are on their side and that you want to support them.
Help your teen have positive relationships by keeping communication open. Being listened to encourages teens to talk. Invite your teenager to share their opinions – even if they’re different from your own. By doing this, your teen may be more willing to talk with you about such things as who they are spending time with, where they are going and how they plan to keep safe.
Praise your teen for the things they have tried to do well – whether it is getting a good grade, helping out at home, expressing themselves through art or enjoying a sport or hobby.
When you recognize your teen’s contributions to the family, to their school and community, you help them build a positive sense of self. Celebrating your teen’s achievements also shows that you respect and value their individuality.
Teens need clear guidelines when it comes to behaviour. Discuss with them what you expect. Involve your teen in deciding what is a fair consequence when they break a rule.
Your teenager is watching and listening to how you behave. Be responsible about your own use of alcohol and other drugs, as well as things like gambling and gaming. Have healthy personal relationships. Remember that nobody’s perfect! Mistakes — your teen’s and your own — can be valuable learning opportunities.
To obtain a copy of “Building Resilient Youth” in English, call Toronto Health Connection 416-338-7600.
Download a copy of the brochure for print