Three Tips for Co-Parents to Build Resiliency in Children


Most parents would agree that they want their children to be resilient. Resilient children are less likely to suffer from mental health challenges such as anxiety or stress, and are more likely to have higher self-esteem and be able to solve their own problems.

Here is a simple plan to help your children become more resilient:

1. Resist the urge to “fix” their problems.

Perhaps your teenage daughter is failing Biology. Your may want to immediately hire her a tutor or call her teacher to ask about extra credit. But by jumping right in to solve this problem for him, you’re teaching her that mom or dad will always be there (and be able) to “fix” any problems she may have. This is simply not true. What you should do instead is commiserate with her—“That is such a hard subject. I’m sorry you’re struggling.”—and ask how she plans to handle the problem. Maybe her ideas will be the same as yours (hiring a tutor, asking for extra credit), but they will be hers.

2. Acknowledge and talk about their feelings.

Many parents—especially divorced parents—are uncomfortable with their children’s anger or sadness. We may feel responsible for those feelings, and again want to “fix” them. But rather than distracting our children from their difficult emotions, what we should do instead is acknowledge and talk about them. “You’re sad today. I know you miss Mom. Do you want to talk about it?” “You seem homesick. It’s hard not to have Dad here tonight to read you a story. Would you like to tell me about it?” This will help your children—and you—both recognize their emotions and also develop healthy coping strategies.

3. Remind them that we can do hard things.

A parent’s confidence in their child helps that child develop confidence in themselves. Confidence that they can handle difficult situations, solve tough problems, and navigate their way through strong emotions. Modeling how you do all this for your children will give them a guide to follow.

SupportPay Can Help

For more support, such as finding a counselor in your area or developing a co-parenting plan, please visit SupportPay’s extensive directory.

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