Helping Your Child Build Inner Strength - What Is Inner Strength?
Inner strength, often called "resilience," is the ability to cope with the stressful situations that life throws at us.
This inner strength is the reason some children seem better equipped than others to face problems. Children who are resilient:
- Are more likely to grow into healthy, happy adults, even in the face of poverty, divorce, or family tragedy.
- Are better able to stand up to peer pressure so they can avoid using drugs, drinking alcohol, and smoking.
- Are better able to resist messages in the media that tell them to be or look a certain way.
- Feel confident when meeting new people.
- Like to do nice things for others.
- Are loving and lovable.
- Are optimistic about life.
Children often surprise us with how resilient they are. But there is much you can do as a parent to help your young child or your teenager grow stronger.
By working to develop a child's inner strength, you are giving that child the emotional and mental tools needed to stay healthy and happy throughout life.
Research shows that some children are more likely to have problems building inner strength. They may have risk factors, such as being in certain situations, having certain medical conditions, or having certain personalities, that make it harder for them to be resilient. But the more parents understand about these risk factors, the better they will be able to help their children learn how to cope.
Internal risk factors
Internal risk factors are part of a child's personality or history. Examples include:
- Concentration problems.
- Problems with learning.
- Serious illness.
External risk factors
External risk factors are in the family, schools, and community. Examples include:
- Parents with severe marital problems.
- Remarriage of parents.
- Moving to a new town.
- Overcrowded classrooms.
- High crime rate in the neighborhood.