Developing Resilience

Life is full of challenges and whoever said that schooldays are the happiest days of your life wasn’t wrong – although most teens of today wouldn’t agree.

The adolescent years are full of physical and psychological challenges, leaving students vulnerable to feelings of stress – not to mention the mounting pressure of annual exams as they progress through their school years.

Consequently, there is no time like the present to start preparing young people for the problems and set-backs that life will throw at them.

As well as teaching our children how to succeed, they also need to learn how to cope with failure – and how to bounce back even stronger.

The dictionary definition of resilience is ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’

Put another way, it’s the ‘rubber ball’ factor – the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity.

For example, young people may need to draw on their reserves of resilience when they get their exam results, university offers (or lack of) and begin applying for jobs.

Some people seem to have more natural, inbuilt, resilience than others – but the good news is that it can be taught, or, at least, nurtured.

Resilience relies on different skills and we try to incorporate these into our PSHE lessons at Future Schools Trust.

Resourcefulness, good communication skills, hope and the ability to manage strong feelings and emotions form part and parcel of this.

Students need to:

  1. Be Aware – of what is going on around them and inside their heads
  2. Think – and be able to interpret events and actions in a rational way
  3. Reach out – when necessary; know when to ask for help and finally
  4. Be Fit. Develop the mental and physical strength to cope with challenges without becoming ill.

Resilience is a process, however. We learn from those around us and develop the toughness we need to cope – and survive – from life’s experiences.

We can’t prevent many of the problems and pressures our children encounter as they make their journey through life – but we can teach them coping strategies.