- Dr. Kate Henry
What Really Helps Kids Build Resilience?
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
As parents, we want the best for our little ones, and we can put enormous pressure on ourselves to get things right. Chances are you've spent some time researching what matters when it comes to parenting in a way that leaves kids feeling loved, capable, and set up for sucess.
But do you know what the medical research suggests?
The ACES study done by Kaiser Permanent was performed using over 17,000 subjects. It used questionnaires to determine what ACTUALLY works when building resilience throughout the lifespan.
Building resilience in our kids is the single best way to ensure that - no matter what happens to them - they're protected to the best degree possible against depression, addiction, and chronic illness for the rest of their lives.
Here's what the study found.
The more statements your kids can answer "True" or "Yes" to, the higher their resilience score will be. (Aka the better you're doing!)
My advice - keep this list somewhere to remind yourself what really matters when it comes to parenting. It's not the fancy shoes, new devices, or tons of special time. It's the following 13 points.
Keep this list where you can see it and when you start to feel overwhlemed by parenting expectations, advice, or goals, you can use it to recenter on what really matters.
Having rules in your house that kids are expected to keep (for example) is one of the 13 resiliency markers but it is hard to do as a parent and often your kids don't appreciate it in the moment. That doesn't mean you're not doing a good job. In fact, you're doing a great job. It won't always feel good in the moment, but that's why this list is so helpful. It reminds you that you are on the right track even when things feel hard.
Notice, too, that some of these markers have nothing to do with YOU. They require that you ADD healthy adults to your kids' lives. Mentors, coaches, etc. are powerful influencers and mentors for children. It's not all on your shoulders.
Additionally, remember that the best thing you can do for your kids is to be an example of a resilient adult who takes care of their own needs and emotions. I can help you do that if you need a practitioner to support you in maximizing your own wellbeing while you optimize your performance at work and home.
Some books on resilient and shame-free parenting (and living) that I highly recommend
Untangled by Lisa Damour
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown
Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown