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Gulf & Main Magazine

Building Resilience in Children

Jan 31, 2024 08:00AM ● By Jason Sabo, PhD

Photo courtesy of TOTI Media, Inc.

In the past several years, we’ve heard a lot about the importance of building resilience in children. Resilience helps them withstand and overcome challenges, learn from them, develop and succeed.

Resiliency is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity. This may include trauma, tragedy, threats, or any other significant stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

Here’s why building resilience in children is important:

  • Resiliency helps us navigate simple life stressors and major life events.

  • Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop.

  • The ability to learn resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. Resiliency is just like any other skill that takes time and practice to learn.

  • At some point in everyone’s life they will experience stress, frustration, trauma and loss. Resiliency will not prevent stress, but rather provide tools to deal with it.

  • The goal is to create a heart and mindset of “what can I learn from this failure/hurdle/setback.” Building resilience in children gives them tools to go from victim to survivor.

Jason Sabo, PhD
Photo courtesy of Lee Health and Golisano Children's Hospital

To help children build resilience, parents and caregivers first need to practice communicating with their children. How can we have deep conversation if we do not practice simple communication?

  • It’s so important to make sure that we are taking time out of our day to communicate with our kids. Communication is important to help them process information and understand why they did things or why they reacted the way that they did.

  • Conversations need to be positive so that a child can learn and consider other ways to react or behave.

  • It’s important for children to understand that communication is more than the words they say. The way they say those words is just as important. Help them to understand both verbal and nonverbal communication.

  • Also, adults need to get used to having uncomfortable conversations. Children are going to have these conversations with us or with a peer at school. It is important that they get the right information, and we can help them process it.

    Verbal and nonverbal communication is important.
    Photo courtesy of TOTI Media, Inc. 

     Read More: Stress in Children: Signs, Symptoms and Strategies

Jason Sabo, PhD, specializes in child and adolescent psychology. As site supervisor at Lee Health’s Pediatric Behavioral Health Practice, he is part of Kids’ Minds Matter, Golisano Children’s Hospital’s philanthropy-supported effort to expand area pediatric mental health services.

About Kids’ Minds Matter

Kids’ Minds Matter (, an initiative of Lee Health and Golisano Children’s Hospital, is focused on raising awareness and funds to ensure children receive the right care at the right place and time, making the full continuum of mental and behavioral health services available in the region. These vital funds fuel programs to expand access to pediatric mental health support in Lee, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Charlotte Counties.