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Teaching Resilience to My Troubled Teenager


In our society, it's more important than ever for teenagers to develop resilience because by teaching teens how to cope with difficult situations, we can help them become independent and strong adults. Teaching resilience can be a bit of a challenge, though, since teenagers are often resistant to change and may not understand why they should even care. But as parents, there are many things we can do to encourage our teens to be resilient. Here are some tips to get you started. We like to refer to “The Resilience Breakthrough” by Christian Moore.

What is Resilience and Why is it Important?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after encountering significant stress or trauma. Resiliency is especially useful during times like these as it aids us in dealing with difficult emotions such as fear, anger, and uncertainty.


Resilience is something that many have had to develop especially during the pandemic--from young children adjusting to a different lifestyle and teenagers struggling with depression brought on by isolation to parents and caregivers having to adjust to their new family dynamics.


By teaching resilience, we can help our teens better handle life's challenges and stressors, both now and in the future. In addition, moving past specific obstacles and learning resilience in the process can build self-confidence and a sense of personal empowerment. Therefore, taking small steps towards resilience can give us a chance to redefine ourselves, make positive changes, experience personal growth, and ultimately equip us with tools that will carry over into whatever situation life brings our way next. For teens, resilience can help them learn how to navigate the world around them and stay positive.

Signs of Isolation

One of the biggest issues that teens face is isolation. Recent studies have extensively reported on the hazardous repercussions of social isolation, especially in children and teenagers. Prolonged periods of loneliness can result in alarming mental health issues such as depression, acute fatigue, hopelessness, or even suicidal thoughts.


Signs of teenager depression associated with isolation can include:

  • changes in their behavior

  • sleeping too much or too little

  • withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed

  • trouble concentrating or making decisions

  • increased irritability

  • sadness or anger

How Parents Can Help Teens to Develop Resilience

As a parent of a teen, it’s important to be aware of signs of isolation and equip them with the skills to maintain their resilience. Building resilience takes practice, so it's essential to create an environment that encourages communication and non-judgmental support. Moreover, it is also important to teach them how to set reasonable expectations about successes as well as disappointments to help teens gain confidence in themselves.


Teenage depression and isolation can be difficult for parents to understand, but there are many ways they can help nurture their teenager's resilience.


For example, parents should use positive reinforcement and set achievable goals to boost self-esteem. Practicing activities such as mindfulness or yoga can help reduce stress levels, while educational opportunities such as tutors or workshops on life skills provide additional resources for development.


When appropriate, providing a safe space where teenagers feel comfortable expressing their feelings and opinions is essential to creating an environment conducive to growth and progress. Start by teaching them how to recognize signs of stress and encourage self-care; present tough conversations in a safe environment; challenge them with problem-solving as opposed to providing answers; talk openly about failure and how it’s ok to make mistakes; foster empathy for others; model healthy behaviors that express emotion without being overwhelmed by it. Most importantly, be there for them during difficult times; remind them that the struggle is real but so are the lessons they will gain from it.


Teaching our teens appropriate problem-solving skills—like understanding how to respond thoughtfully instead of reactively—is essential for developing resilience. Modeling resilience by showing grace when life doesn’t go according to plan allows them to see how we overcome life lessons and allows them to strategize ways to handle their own difficulties in the future. When dealing with challenging times, focus on providing comfort while offering honest feedback and advice where applicable.

Modeling Resiliency to Your Teen

As a parent, you play an essential role in helping your teen develop resilience. Hence, modeling resilience yourself is one way to teach it to them. Show them that you persevere even when you're facing setbacks or adversity--your example could be the encouragement they need to follow suit.


Furthermore, demonstrate healthy coping strategies like taking a break or recognizing when extra help is needed. Above all, show your teen the power of self-kindness and self-compassion. As parents, we are our children's first teachers, so use this powerful opportunity to be an example of resilience.


Ultimately, resilience is a skill that can be taught and learned over time. By modeling resilience and teaching our teens how to cope with stress and adversity, we can empower them with the tools needed for creating an emotionally self-sufficient future. With guidance and practice, developing resiliency skills provides a sense of strength and hope that allows teens to develop their character and self-regulate in stressful situations. Here are more pointers on how you teen boys can develop resilience.


At Sundance Canyon Academy, we can help your teenage kids to learn resilience skills and how to cope with the stress that often accompanies being a teenager. Our experienced staff can provide the individualized care and support they need while helping them build resilience. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

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