On 16 September we completed our Resilience Trilogy, a family-focused seminar series on the topic of developing tenacity and growth-mindset responses to challenges that we face regularly. Over the last year, parents and young people we have met in the Student Information Common on Monday evenings to develop their understanding of resilience and to learn practical skills that will benefit them now and in the future.
Levels of personal resilience have been falling over recent years and we are seeing an increase in anxiety and other related difficulties in our children.
The core skill in resilience involves being able to face our challenges and difficult circumstances with a transformative or ‘mature’ attitude. This is about marshalling our resources and coping skills to enable us to work through hard times with courage, learning and personal growth. A regressive approach to adversity, which is the ‘toddler’ attitude we are born with, is easy to fall back on and includes withdrawing, blaming, throwing tantrums or shutting down. The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, an extensive ongoing longitudinal study begun in New Zealand, cites self-control as the number one determinant of life success. This is about choosing mature responses during times of struggle, as opposed to childish ones.
Can we choose to respond transformatively when difficult situations arise?
Can we teach our children to do the same?