Philadelphia pediatrician and author Kenneth Ginsburg asserts that “young people live up or down to expectations we set for them. They need adults who believe in them unconditionally and hold them to the high expectations of being compassionate, generous, and creative.” Dr. Ginsburg has identified “Seven C’s of Resilience” as a road map for helping students to find their inner grit:
1) COMPETENCE: Young people need to be recognized when they’re doing something right and to be given opportunities to develop specific skills.
2) CONFIDENCE: Confidence comes from building real skills that parents and educators can teach and nurture. Confidence can be easily undermined, but also bolstered by tasks that push learners without making the goal feel unachievable.
3) CONNECTION: Being part of a community helps children know they aren’t alone if they struggle and that they can develop creative solutions to problems.
4) CHARACTER. Children need an understanding of right and what wrong and the capacity to follow a moral compass. That will allow them see that they cannot be put down.
5) CONTRIBUTION: The experience of offering their own service makes it easier for young people to ask for help when they need it. Once children understand how good it can feel to give to others, it becomes easier to ask for that same support when it’s needed. And being willing to ask for help is a big part of being resilient.
6) COPING: Children need to learn mechanisms to manage their stress by learning methods to both engage and disengage at times. Some strategies for doing this include breaking down seemingly insurmountable problems into smaller, achievable pieces, avoiding things that trigger extreme anxiety, and just letting some things go. After all, resilience is about conserving energy to fit the long game and kids need to know realistically what they can affect and what should be let go.
7) CONTROL: In order to truly be resilient, a child needs to believe that she has control over her world. Feeling secure helps engender control, which is why children test limits.