Nurturing Resilience - "The Anxious Generation"

02 May 2024

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Nurturing Resilience: Insights from Jonathan Haidt's "The Anxious Generation"


Recently, a number of the staff have been reading Jonathan Haidt's book, "The Anxious Generation,". Haidt delves into the complex landscape of anxiety among today's youth. Haidt emphasises the importance of fostering resilience in children, equipping them with the tools to cope with adversity and thrive in an increasingly uncertain world.


Here are a few standouts that have helped me to reflect deeper as I parent my children.


Promote autonomy: Encourage independence and decision-making skills in your children from an early age. Allow them to take risks and learn from failures, fostering a sense of competence and self-reliance. In our house, it sounds like “ I know you can do that yourself”,  “ I wonder what else can you try to make that work?”


Embrace discomfort: Resist the temptation to shield your children from all discomfort or adversity. Instead, teach them to tolerate discomfort and see it as an opportunity for growth. Please encourage them to face challenges head-on rather than avoid them. Having feelings of anger/frustration/ sadness is ok however we cannot stay there, we must acknowledge our feelings to move through them. Our children need their feelings acknowledged and our encouragement to keep getting up, even when it is hard.


Cultivate gratitude: Foster a culture of gratitude within your family by regularly expressing appreciation for the simple joys in life. A house, a car (2 for a lot of us), clean water, food, power etc, really are amazing however they are normal in the west, so we don’t even think to notice them or be thankful for them. Encourage your children to keep a gratitude journal, encourage them to notice what they may have even if they do not write it down. Purposely participate in acts of kindness, cultivating a positive outlook and resilience in the face of adversity, help them notice others who are struggling.


Encourage social connections: Facilitate opportunities for your children to build strong social connections with peers and mentors. Encourage open communication and provide a supportive environment where they feel comfortable seeking help and guidance when needed.


Model resilience: Lead by example and demonstrate resilience in your own life. Acknowledge your own struggles and setbacks, emphasising the importance of perseverance and resilience in overcoming challenges. Be honest in your feelings of struggle and discomfort but make sure your children see you get up and keep going even when it is hard.


I know by implementing these strategies, I as a parent can play a pivotal role in fostering resilience which empowers my children and helps them to navigate the complexities of the modern world with confidence and optimism. As Haidt eloquently reminds us, "The goal is not to eliminate all sources of stress, but to teach our children how to thrive in a stressful world."

Mr Byron Hunt

Counsellor at Calvary Christian College