Developing a resilient brain in children is a goal that, when achieved, has tremendous value. We know that our children are capable of extraordinary things. However, our most cherished desire is that they be happy. For that, nothing better than to teach them to master by themselves the resources that can enable them to face these daily challenges that can arise anytime.
Word "resilience" is in fashion ; it can be found in any self help book or personal development manual. So, we also know that the idea that resilience represents is not newalthough it is somewhat so today, now that we have begun to study its effect more rigorously.
Viktor Frankl has already defined the basics of resilience for us in many of his books. He did this by teaching us, for example, how some people manage to face adversity through their inner strengths, their shells, their goals and their approaches.
"What we really need is a radical change in our attitude towards life."
Therefore, if these resources are so motivating, why not pass them on to children? Doing it will mean something more than just giving them simple techniques to better deal with the challenges they may encounter. In reality, Resilience builds in them, as in us, a new mentality. It gives shape to stronger brains, with better resistance to stress and more skillful executive functions.
The effort is worth it. Developing a resilient brain in children is possible if the following strategies are followed.
- 1 The need to "educate" a resilient brain
- 2 1. Promote strong bonds and a healthy attachment: be the best reference for the child
- 3 2. Strengthen executive functions
- 4 3. Practice mindfulness
- 5 4. To convey to the children the idea that they are competent and capable
- 6 5. Transmit optimism to develop a resilient brain in children
- 7 6. Face fears with support: it is good to ask for help
- 8 7. Learn how to build a "toolkit for solving problems"
- 9 A resilient core is made of the strongest material available
The need to "educate" a resilient brain
When we face adversity, our brain experiences stress and emotional anguish. Thus, this type of response is initiated and prepared in a very concrete place: the cerebral tonsils.
This structure is responsible for our responses to fear, and it also sends the necessary messages to the brain to release adrenaline and cortisol as quickly as possible. "We must react, we must escape as soon as possible to this threatening stimulus!"he tells us.
Now, when the amygdala, this sentinel of fear, takes control, something very characteristic happens: the prefrontal cortex loses its functionality. In other words, our ability to analyze the situation objectively or to think about the problem decreases completely. We let ourselves be carried away by this emotional sequestration dominated by fear without being able to see any way out, without having the inner calmness with which to build a way of escape.
If we were able to educate children in a more resilient brain, it would not happen, or at least not so often. Because Resiliency basically involves calming the amygdala to activate the prefrontal cortex. Reduce stress to develop a more open, thoughtful and strong mindset. Let's see, later in this article, how to get there.
1. Promote strong bonds and a healthy attachment: be the best reference for the child
Probably most of you think that when it comes to educating more resilient children, nothing can be better than teaching them independence and independence. In reality, More than self-sufficiency, what is essential for developing a resilient brain is the emotional connection.
Children need a healthy, strong and strong attachment. They need people of reference who offer them love, security and protection. All of this gives shape to a brain that does not experience either fear or stress. Because a strong brain that has not had premature experiences of insecurity or fear is a brain that will, in the long run, deal more effectively with the problems of life. The absence of these traces determines a stronger, more flexible and more receptive spirit.
2. Strengthen executive functions
As we pointed out at the beginning of this article, our goal is to calm the amygdala (ie fear) and strengthen the prefrontal cortex (ie executive functions). In this way, we will provide resources for the child to be able to solve the problems he will face, to focus his attention and to be creative when faced with challenges, be they big or small. All this will prevent the child from being paralyzed by fear or anguish.
Strategies for developing executive functions in children are as follows:
- Establish routines
- Model healthy social behaviors
- Foster social connection with people you trust
- Allow them to seize opportunities to establish their own connections with their peers (camping, sport, etc.)
- Make creative games
- Indulge in memory games
- Let them make their own decisions
3. Practice mindfulness
Another sensational way to develop a resilient brain in children is mindfulness. Being able to connect with the present moment in a relaxed way improves the cerebral connection, releases stress and promotes the strengthening of executive functions. If you introduce this practice into the lives of children from an early age, you will see the great benefits.
4. To convey to the children the idea that they are competent and capable
A child must consider himself competent on a daily basisas someone who can learn from mistakes to improve, as someone who can excel every day to master new skills and abilities more effectively. This feeling, that of counting on our support and our gratitude, will allow him to make better decisions little by little.
5. Transmit optimism to develop a resilient brain in children
Realistic optimism can be of great help to children. Let's show them that any reality that may contain problematic nuances can be considered in terms of personal surpassing. Thus, this is where their true value will reside.
6. Face fears with support: it is good to ask for help
To develop a resilient brain in children, it is necessary to help them manage their negative valence emotions, such as fear. The first thing we can offer them is an idea: asking for help, other than advisable, is necessary. In addition, those who seek help are brave enough to recognize their vulnerability, their needs, and to take a step toward deeper relationships.
Helping others and enabling them to help us is a dynamic that children need to start at a young age in their lives. Thus, fears will be smaller, they will lose their power and eventually disappear.
7. Learn how to build a "toolkit for solving problems"
This suggestion is as amusing as it is helpful. From the age of 5, a child is already able to learn to solve simple problems.
If we offer him for his daily life a "problem-solving toolkit" and show them how to use it, it will help them mature. As they grow up, it will be the children who will perfect the use of these tools and adapt them to their circumstances.
Thus, this toolkit for problem solving may contain the following strategies:
What to do when something worries me:
- Consult my dad or my mom
- Ask for help or advice from someone you trust
- If I have already encountered this problem in the past, think of how I managed to solve it. Can I do the same thing today?
- Understand that any problem, however big, can be divided into smaller pieces to solve one by one
To conclude, one could say that developing, fostering and fostering a resilient brain in children requires education based on a secure attachment and in which we provide our children with a solid foundation through Strategies to deal with and solve problems.
What we are talking about here is a kind of active and creative education, where the adult serves as a referent and example. Such a project determines a great responsibility on our part: we are referring to an adventure that will always be worth it.