With September being National Suicide Prevention Month, I'd like to look at one thing we need to help strengthen our teens in and that is resilience.
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; to be able to bounce back into shape and become flexible.
Resilient teens understand how they are unique and can contribute to society. They have learned to accept, identify, and process their thoughts and emotions.
They've learned when the going gets tough, they can call on the times that they have overcome bigger obstacles and they are able to reframe their situation. They've learned how to use their unique strengths to solve problems.
So how do we help our teens develop resilience?
The first step I believe is connecting with your teen in a real way, learning to listen to understand where they are coming from so you can meet them where they are at.
When our teen is connected with us emotionally and feel safe to express their thoughts (even if they are different from ours), then they are willing to listen to our wisdom.
Helping them recognize their own power in the situation to manage their thoughts, emotions, action, and results empower them to take ownership of the obstacle. These teens are able to take responsibility for the things they can control and give up responsibility for the things they cannot control.
Tim Elmore states "a growing body of research shows that resilient people place their life experiences in the right “bucket.” Wisdom, not worry, guides them. Handling the following three scenarios incorrectly can lead to all kinds of post-traumatic stress:
Bucket One – It is in your control. Be responsible.
Bucket Two – It is out of your control. Trust the process.
Bucket Three – It is within your influence. Interact wisely.
Two out of three of these buckets above require us to exercise some ownership.
Resilient people have a positive, realistic outlook because they don’t dwell on realities they can’t control or on negative information.
Instead, they look for opportunities in a bleak situation, striving to find the positive within the negative. “Many, many resilient people learn to carefully accept what they can’t change in a situation and then ask themselves what they can actually change,” said Steven M. Southwick. This is huge."
What will your first step be in creating resilient teens?