Stress is Growth: Building Resilience in Children Through Anxious Situations
By Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, EdD PMHNP —
Let’s try to change our mindset. “Stress is Growth”. As a parent, protecting your child from anxious situations is a natural instinct, but letting a child move through a stressful time can teach them how to handle stress. If your child can figure out how to get through these types of situations, then as adults they will have those skills in their toolbox. Adult life has daily stresses and problems, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but knowing how to manage these situations is empowering. Sometimes, the best way to build resilience in children is to allow them to experience and learn from anxious situations.
Feeling victimized by anxiety can limit opportunities for growth by keeping you in a loop of negative self-talk. It can sometimes be easy to believe that your anxiety makes up who you are as a person. If you never had to build resilience as a child by learning to cope with stress and anxiety, then the endless problems and tasks you must sort out as an adult can overwhelm you. However, you can feel incredibly empowered when you take a step back, look at everything you need to accomplish in your daily life, and realize that you learned to handle much more stressful situations as you were growing up.
Let’s look at an example. Any parent who has had to deal with a child avoiding school and showing signs of anxiety knows how much stress it can cause them. You can help build resilience in your child by working with them to figure out what is making them anxious and why they are avoiding school. Helping them recognize and understand that feeling is a good first step to growing through the problem. If they keep avoiding the problem and staying home from school because they are anxious, they will never learn to cope with the stress. Instead, they will hold onto the identity of a person who is too anxious to achieve their goals. If a child can learn the tools to handle participating in school even when they are anxious about it, they will be more successful as an adult who feels anxious about completing tasks or interacting with co-workers and employers at work. Most adults have to work to support themselves and their families, so feeling empowered enough to accomplish that is a huge achievement for someone who had to build resilience as a child. If someone feels overwhelmed or stressed when interacting with other people, they can take a step back, rely on those coping skills, and grow.
The Mentally STRONG Method will help you and your children develop these coping skills and organize your brains. Once you learn these skills, you will be able to choose not to be overpowered by your anxiety and make deliberate efforts to change negative self-talk. Building resilience in your children by teaching them to confidently say “I will not be overwhelmed by this” is growth both you and your children can be proud of.
Want to learn more? Register for our online course: Raising Mentally STRONG Kids