Resilience and well-being in young people starts at home.

September 15, 2017

From recent psychological research by “Action for Happiness” and the work of psychologist Martin Seligman in the US, we know that resilience is one of the things that is fundamental to our happiness and wellbeing.  So, what is it?  How can we and our children become more resilient and have a sense of wellbeing in a world that seems to be in a state of flux?

Resilience is the speed it takes us to bounce back after a setback, disappointment or unexpected event. This can happen to anyone on the twists and turns of a career path that may look like crazy-paving, but for young people there needs to be a recognition that it may start before or in the early teenage years. Building resilience is an important early skill to learn.

Being able to cope with the ups and downs of life in the future will become the security that your young people will need in an ever-changing world. This knowledge and confidence (that your children have good coping strategies) lead to a continued sense of wellbeing – feeling good about themselves and their life.

Building career resilience starts with a supportive and encouraging relationship with parents, and it is very important for parents to encourage their sons and daughters to value and build positive relationships with them and others who share their skills and interests. If your children enjoy what they do and have a sense of curiosity about what is going on around them, it will ultimately build self-esteem and the motivation to create a successful career path and achieve a sense of progress. They will understand that career resilience encompasses being able to evolve with the times and get more comfortable with change or even instigate it for themselves.

Resilient people are:

  • Optimistic – they have a positive image of the future and see the effects of a setback as temporary.  It is often our thinking habits and deep held (often catastrophic) beliefs that can undermine our career resilience.
  • Have a purpose - they have goals and, what’s more, they love planning and working towards them as much as having the desire to achieve them regardless of setbacks.
  • Focused - on things they have control over. A sense of control is important for our wellbeing.  Increasing control of the things we recommend below will help to stay career resilient.

The top priority for most parents is to see their children fulfilled and happy.  However, we know that mental health issues in young people are creeping up the health agenda. Some schools are already embracing key elements of the “Action for Happiness” agenda to help build resilience into children in the UK.

It is important that you recognise, as parents, that your children take ownership of their career journey but with your support. No one else is going to manage their career for them except themselves, and you can play a major part but without being pushy, and is important that everyone recognises that young people will no longer have only one job in their lifetime.

The transferable skills that are developed through education and all jobs and which will increase your child’s career resilience are:

  • A willingness to learn, try new things and adapt to new circumstances
  • Acceptance that nothing remains the same and change will happen sooner rather than later
  • Finding and using every opportunity (e.g. work experience) and understanding the learning derived from it
  • Gaining IT skills so that knowledge acquisition and communication become second nature
  • Taking regular exercise, and looking after physical and mental wellbeing
  • Thinking outside the box; gain as many views as possible; think global and local
  • Know what your child’s strengths are and what motivates them, their beliefs and values.

Watch out for our new website, with ideas and tools to help you become your child’s career coach and increase their career resilience.