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Helping Your Child Develop Resilience Using the 7Cs Model

Updated: May 10

As parents, we want nothing more than to protect our children from pain and unhappiness. We often go to great lengths to try and shield them from anything that might cause them hurt or suffering, whether that’s a scraped knee or the death of a loved one.

However, as much as we might want to, we can't always keep our kids from experiencing tough times. That’s where resilience comes in.

In this article:

What is resilience?

How do stress and resilience impact children?

The effects of stress in children

The resilient child

Building resilience in children

The 7Cs of resilience in children

  1. Competence

  2. Confidence

  3. Connection

  4. Character

  5. Contribution

  6. Coping

  7. Control

How can I help my child develop resilience?

The PROE Framework for child development

How you can use PROE to build resilience


What is resilience?

Resilience is a fundamental aspect of mental health and refers to a person’s ability to adapt and bounce back from negative experiences, such as stress, adversity, or trauma.

Resilience does not mean ignoring problems or suppressing emotions—rather, it enables us to face challenges head-on and find ways to persevere.

Unlike many innate characteristics, such as introversion or extroversion, resilience is a learned skill that children can develop as they grow and mature.

By teaching resilience skills from an early age, parents can help their children build a foundation for success in life. Resilient children are more likely to take healthy risks–the kinds that help them learn–because they can bounce back from setbacks and aren’t afraid of failure.

The challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic have only highlighted the necessity of resilience in children. Children faced their own series of hardships and difficulties during this time, from the stress of virtual school to the sadness of separation from friends and regular activities. Even children too young to understand the pandemic absorbed stress from the adults in their lives and had fewer opportunities to interact with the world and new people. Resilience can prepare children to deal with these emotions and thrive even in trying times.

How do stress and resilience impact children?

The effects of stress in children

According to the American Psychological Association, children are experiencing more stress than ever before.

Chronic stress is long-lasting stress that can come from living in a difficult environment, such as poverty, abuse, or a family dealing with divorce or serious illness. This type of stress is different from acute stress, the type that occurs suddenly in response to a specific event.