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Difficult Teenager: Building Resilience May Be Helpful


Difficult teenager behaviours are common. Life is tough at times and adolescence brings with it much turbulence – small challenges like arguments with friends or moving schools through too much larger hurdles such as bullying or family breakdowns.

The teenage years, the best years of your life, so they say! But we all know that’s not really the case.
Resilience is the ability to adapt to different circumstances and recover and bounce back after hard times. Resilience helps us navigate life’s ups and downs. When we are resilient we learn from challenges and get stronger. Rather than being born with resilience, it is something we can learn.

We can’t stop our kids from experiencing problems or hard times but, as parents, we can equip them with the skills and attitudes needed to be able to recover from setbacks.

We have compiled some great tips for building resilience in teenagers:


1) Encourage belonging and staying connected.

Strong relationships with family, friends, school and community help kids feel valued and offer a sense of security. By participating, kids realise they can make a difference and that the world is a better place because of their involvement.


2) Teach self-confidence and self-respect.

Offer praise and compliments, show your kids how much they matter to you, recognise their strengths. Support them to take on responsibility. If kids feel capable and know they can handle situations, they will trust their own judgements, make responsible choices and recover from challenges.


3) Keep things in perspective.

Kids are more likely to feel positive if they can see that difficult times are just a part of life. Time will pass and things will get better. Avoid catastrophising a situation, as that sort of thinking is unhelpful.


4) Use the strategy of distraction.

Have a diversion activity for times of stress, like going for walk or watching a favourite movie. If you have a plan, it is easier to handle setbacks. And simply taking your mind off things for a while is a great method.


5) Build a healthy Family Dynamic.

Have clear leadership, believe it or not, families do not function well as democracies. Benevolent dictatorships work effectively, where parents consult regularly with their children but ultimately have the final say. Importantly, be consistent. Kids like boundaries, there is security in predictability, agree on the rules and stick to them.


6) Be a role model.

Let your kids see and hear you being positive and optimistic. If you want to raise happy, healthy teenagers you need to have a good time yourself. If you want your children to succeed, show them that success is worth having.


Ultimately it is important to show our kids that life is mainly good, everyone experiences difficult times but things do get better. Remind them no-one’s perfect, we all make mistakes and that’s ok.

If you would like assistance, or to further discuss strategies for promoting resilience, please make an appointment with a Wellbeing Therapy Space therapist.

Photo: Hugh McCann from Upsplash