Building resilience in our kids & young people – Michelle Sparkes

Building resilience in our kids & young people

I was reading a newspaper article this morning about the doubling rates of anorexia in young people under 14 years of age in the UK. We have similar figures in Australia. I thought I’d share some thoughts about how can we (adults) can help build resilience in our kids and younger people. Here are a few quick thoughts:

Commend character – things like honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, being responsible, being diligent.

Praise personal qualities – being caring, a good listener, generous, kind, a lateral thinker, a good organiser.

Identify and nurture natural abilities – artistic, academic, athletic, social, organisational, leadership, diplomacy.

Affirm unique value – no two lives are the same, and every life has tremendous value.

Shore up foundations of security for young people.

Make time to do things with your young person as often as possible. Try and involve them (seamlessly) in activities they can do WITH you such as preparing meals, shopping for food, gardening, fixing things around the home.

Try and have family meals together – this is an known protective factor in reducing risk to eating disorders. Engage in conversation – share something good that happened during the day or something challenging that you can talk through.

If you pray, pray together – this is a wonderful opportunity to add a “super” dimension to your natural capacity to provide support,security and nurture to your child. If you have this ‘spiritual foundation’ in your own life you can share this with your kids and give them something additional to dig deep into when they feel anxious or insecure.

Talk to your children about the messages they get through TV and social media. explore how these impact them and help them look at ways to limit exposure to unhelpful messages.

Encourage your child to build friendships with others around shared interests,especially those that focus on the whole person.

Discuss with your young person the concepts of competition and comparison. Help them navigate this territory so they can consider what is healthy and helpful and what needs to be limited or questioned.

Copyright 2016 Michelle Sparkes

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Michelle is a physiotherapist and professional counsellor with lived experience of anorexia, EDNOS and binge-eating in her teen and early adult years. Founder of Women Worth their Weight, and author of Illuminating Anorexia Michelle is passionate about helping people recover from these health and life consuming problems.