The Importance of Teaching Resilience

Having resilience is an essential part of managing all that life has to throw at us. Our private prep school in Devon ensures that all of our students feel self-assured and ready to achieve their ambitions, even if the path might not be as straightforward as they hope!

With this in mind, we explain why teaching resilience is vital to your child’s development!

What is Resilience?

Resilience is essentially how we cope with change. It usually applies to how we cope with more considerable life alterations, but it could also apply to minor ones too, depending on the individual. How we react and manage ourselves after a setback can be determined by our psychological resilience.

Resilience also works hand in hand with self-confidence. If you don’t believe or value yourself, it can be hard to overcome life’s challenges, making you believe otherwise. This is why it is essential to instil it in children as they develop.

A Reliable Framework

By no means does resilience eradicate the sad or difficult feelings that arise when life throws difficult situations at us. However, it offers an internal form of guidance for people to learn how to absorb hard situations and work through them.

Attributes of Resilience

Resilience is ingrained in us throughout our life. For children, it can be affected by how they are brought up. However, it can also be instilled through socialising and the skills required to maintain happy and healthy relationships.

The adults in a child’s life can role model these behaviours, which children will naturally copy.

One research group in 2014 discovered that there are various attributes to resilience.

Beadle, Cahill, Farrelly, Forster and Smith recalled that the balance of the following factors determines resilience:

  • Optimism
  • Purpose
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Effective ‘coping style’
  • A healthy self-image
  • Attachment to family, learning and school
  • Social aptitude including ‘pro-social values’

Their findings indicated that this combination led to a development of resilience in children.

Year 2 cooking at St Peter's Prep

What Situations Does Resilience Apply To?

Resilience can apply to a multitude of situations. For some, certain situations may not be as triggering as they might be for others.

For children, it can also apply to any major changes or difficulties that they experience during their childhood.

It could include:

  • The death of a relative
  • Parental divorce
  • A close friend moving away
  • Moving to a new school
  • Starting secondary school

Why Resilience is Essential for Children

As situations can cause different emotions in individuals, resilience is essential in understanding that life is ever-changing; situations and feelings are not necessarily permanent.

Below, we take a look at how resilience can contribute to a child’s life, from their early years to adulthood and why it is an important life skill to develop.

Overall Mental Health

Resilience is an essential part of a child’s overall mental health. It is a skill that is necessary as an adult when they will have to make their own decisions whilst being faced with some of life’s hardships.

Throughout our lives, we will constantly experience change. Resilience supports a child’s acceptance of change and adversity and how to prevent stress and anxiety taking over their life.

It can help them figure out solutions under pressure, which also prevents the unhealthy consequences of stress.

A family walking together in a wood

Develops Core Values

Childhood is where many of us develop our core values, which we refer back to for guidance in later life.

Implementing resilience at a young age is integral for ensuring a healthy perspective on change. Without this, life can feel more challenging as children develop, often feeling overwhelmed by things they weren’t expecting. Instead of learning to cope with this when they are younger, making it a natural skill to fall back on, it is developed at an older age which can be more challenging and emotionally exhausting.

Improves Self-Esteem

Most of us can agree that we naturally feel more confident if we know how to approach something.

We can’t always plan and predict what is going to happen. However, knowing how to manage yourself and your emotions is a surefire way to feel more self-confident in unfamiliar situations.

With the self-belief that you know how to handle situations, you are more likely to try new things and give things a go that you may not have usually attempted, instead of feeling apprehensive and worried.

As children learn new things at school and socialise with different groups of children, feeling self-assured and confident is integral to ensuring they carry on developing these skills.

Develops Problem Solving Skills

As highlighted, a key part of resilience is accepting a situation and re-framing the change.

A natural aspect, that comes from this, is the ability to problem solve. It helps to promote the idea of not giving up and relying on yourself to work through it.

Helps Create Relationships

However, even though much of resilience points towards relying on oneself, it also highlights the importance of turning to others for help.

Resilience comes hand in hand with understanding daily life and managing social situations that require positive relationships. Resilience helps children understand that life might not always head in the direction they need, but they have the positive advice and role models of others to support them.

Without this social framework, it can be hard to manage life healthily.

Former Exeter Chiefs Rugby captain and parent explaining to St Peter’s pupils how his team won the Premiership & The European Rugby Champions Cup

How To Help Your Child Develop Resilience

A key aspect of teaching resilience is to lead by example as a parent. Children tend to copy the behaviours of those they are close to and trust.

As a parent, you should try to model healthy coping skills in times of adversity. When you see your child face a challenge, assist and guide your child to manage these challenges as they happen. Not only does this help them navigate problems, but it also shows the importance of maintaining open communications and asking for help when they are unsure of something.

Here at St Peter’s Prep, we ensure all our students develop self-confidence in our classrooms and encourage extracurricular activities. Our Friday afternoon activities allow your child to channel their energy into something they feel passionate about while developing their skills.

If you would like to know more about the outstanding opportunities at our school, please contact Rachel Elliott, Director of Admissions & Marketing, on 01395 280335 or email

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