Anxiety is a feeling of fear or panic. Being anxious some of the time is normal and most people worry about something. But once the difficult situation is over, you feel better and calm down. If the problem has gone but the feeling of fear or panic stays or even gets stronger, that’s when anxiety becomes a problem. We now know one in six young people experience anxiety problems at some point.
Some of the latest research shows that by fostering Grit & Resilience in our children they will be able to cope better with feelings of anxiety. Many of our children are being introduced to Growth Mindset at school and are learning how to foster resilience. By giving parents a way to gain knowledge on this subject we hope to provide a means of early intervention – adding to our Huddl tool box so that we are better equipped to help our children flourish.
In her talk, Huddl speaker and Paralympian Elizabeth Wright explained what character strengths are and how they are important for all of us to understand and refer to. Character strengths are a robust set of skills and attributes that will enable children and young people (CYP) to confidently face life’s challenges and opportunities in a fast-changing future.
Research shows that using your character strengths can help you gain Grit & Resilience: visit the VIA website to learn more and take a free survey and find out what your character strength are, why not do it with your children? https://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths
All children are born with a natural resilience, some children seem to have an ability to recover from obstacles, while others need extra support, but all children can become more resilient.
Resilient individuals are more successful because they push their limits and learn from their mistakes and failures.
Resilience is a key factor in determining not only who will adapt but also who will thrive.
Dr Ruth MacConville shared the Key Themes for Building Resilience
- To be resilient children and young people need unconditional love, security and a deep connection to at least one adult
- Sometimes the best thing that we can do to strengthen CYP’s resilience is to get out of their way
- CYP live up or they live down to adults’ expectations of them
- Listening attentively to CYP is more important than any words we say routinely or in a crisis
- Nothing is as important as what children see us doing on a daily basis
- Children can only take positive steps when they have the confidence to do so. They gain this confidence when they believe that they are competent.
We learnt that some Everyday Risk Factors can impact on a children’s ability to be resilient, some of which were:
- The increasing commercialism of childhood due to the marketing power of companies
- The `hypersexualisation’ of children
- “I have…” (and talk about their family and friends)
- “I am…” (then talk about character strengths and values)
- “I can…” (then talk about their competences)
- “I like…” (then talk about their interests and hobbies).
- The End of Play
- Pester Power
- Excessive screen time
- Flight from conversation: the failing connections of the digital world.
In addition to the above, adults who tend to take over tasks that children either are, or could be, performing independently limit the child’s ability to experience mastery, leading to greater rate of anxiety.
The 3 Overprotection styles that do Psychological Harm
- When we do things for children that they can already do for themselves.
- When we do for children what they can almost do for themselves.
- When overprotection is motivated by our own ego.
Ruth developed this theme and explained that overprotection deprives CYP of the opportunity to:
- be creative
- problem solve
- develop coping skills
- work out what makes them happy
- figure out who they are & become resilient.
Although we may ‘over involve’ to protect CYP and it would lead to short-term gains it also delivers the message “You can’t do this without me” and increases CYP’s chances of suffering from depression and anxiety.
So what does a CYP who is resilient look like? They are those who can say:
- If we can help our children develop the four core beliefs below, we will be helping them to be resilient.
- They matter as human beings
- They have some control over their lives
- They can learn from failure
- They have real strengths to rely on and share.
Sandberg & Grant, 2017
We learnt so much on this topic that we have created a new Huddl resource combining all the top tips from our Huddl speakers, click here to read and share, we hope you find this and the above useful.