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10 Resilience Building Phrases to Teach Kids They’re Capable

Encouraging resilience in kids can help them develop lifelong skills for overcoming obstacles. With the right tools and advice, you can help your children build up their resilience so that they can thrive in life, no matter what challenges come their way.

Why Does Building Resilience Matter?

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Resilience is the ability to recover from adversity, to pick oneself up after a fall. We all face setbacks in life, and it’s important to have the strength to overcome them. Our job as parents isn't to make our kids happy all the time. Our job is to prepare them for living fulfilling lives and we need resilience to face the daily challenges we're bound to meet.

Phrases to Help Kids Develop Resilience

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The first step to encouraging resilience is to allow kids to attempt problem solving without rescuing them from their frustration right away. It's helpful to have a few phrases ready to support them for the next time your child is struggling.

Read through, try a few of these, and perhaps come up with some of your own ideas to try as well. Practice saying these phrases in a neutral tone of voice to avoid sounding sarcastic.

How will you handle that?

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This question asks your child to think about what they'd like to do and assumes they are capable of coming up with ideas. It builds up their belief in themselves that they can come up with their own ideas and solutions.

Would you like to practice what you'll say with me ahead of time?

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Sometimes, we know our kids are going into a challenging situation. Instead of rescuing them from a hard conversation, we can offer to help them prepare.

How can you take care of that?

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Instead of fixing something that a child is complaining about, we can ask them something like this to remind them of their ability to take action.

How do you feel about that?

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Part of building resilience is learning that how we feel about something gives us good information. The more we can help our kids tap into their emotions and trust themselves, the more they'll have a strong sense of self and clarity about what matters most to them. This allows them to make decisions more confidently.

What do you think about that?

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Similar to asking how they feel, asking kids what they think and really listening to their responses builds up their sense of self-worth. Learning that what they think matters increases their trust in themselves to handle challenges.

I have faith in you. I'm sure you can handle it.

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  Just knowing someone has our back goes a long way in facing tough situations. This is why encouragement matters.

Wow, that sounds challenging.

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The point of this phrase is that rather than trying to fix something, we can simply reflect that we hear how hard things are. We can be empathetic while also holding someone capable.

It looks like you're working really hard on that.

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Acknowledging a child's hard work can help them take pride in their efforts.

Give it a try. This can just be an experiment to see what happens.

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Reminding kids that they don't have to be perfect gives them the opportunity to grow and learn. Knowing you can ‘experiment' makes it much easier to try hard things.

Do as much as you can, and I'll help with the parts you can't do on your own.

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This phrase reminds kids that you are there to help and hopefully gets them started on their own so they can push their comfort zone just a little bit.

Does resilience impact a child's mental health?

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Resilience is beneficial for a child's mental health because it allows them to cope with stress and setbacks. A resilient child has the ability to adapt to difficult circumstances and learn from their experiences. This can help them develop stronger coping skills and increase their emotional stability. Resilience also teaches children how to manage their emotions, which can be beneficial in the long run. You can try some of these resilience-building activities for parents and kids to do together to build you both up.

We need to build our capacity to handle discomfort.

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As parents, it's our job to teach kids how to problem solve and face challenges. However, this can cause a lot of discomfort. We have to be resilient to handle watching our kids struggle – it might feel bad in the moment, but it's helping them gain the skills they need for a successful life. In order to help them build resilience, we have to grow our own capacity for resilience and learn to tolerate the discomfort of watching them struggle.

Encouraging Resilience Sets Your Child Up for a More Fulfilling Life.

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All through life, we deal with the frustration of being a beginner, learning new things, or handling unexpected changes. Even though it might feel uncomfortable, allowing your child to experience and move through that frustration builds their resilience. We can give help with tasks kids can't do on their own and guide them towards independence as they learn to do these things for themselves. What phrases would you like to say when your child is struggling with a challenge? Planning ahead for how you'll react to their struggle will allow you to be more calm in the moment.

Activities For Building Resilience from Your Daily Routines

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Parents can try including some of these activities in their day-to-day lives to help kids build resilience.

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Alissa Zorn

Author: Alissa Zorn

Title: Trauma-Informed Coach

Expertise: childhood emotional neglect, perfectionism, parenting, journaling, comics, doodling, coaching