Tuesday, May 30, 2023
HomeIssues2019 - Fall EditionDEVELOPING RESILIENCE In Your Child



Now that the long summer holiday has drawn to a close, many parents are heaving a sigh of relief – familiar routines are being restored, and the new academic year is finally beginning. Yet, parents and children alike tend to suffer with nervous anticipation about going back to school. It is understandable – our minds find it difficult to deal with uncertainty; going into a new class, getting used to new teachers and routines, and jostling with friendship groups after a long break all add to uncertainty. Then, there are those starting at new schools – rites of passage in children’s lives – but nonetheless times of heightened anxiety for young people and those supporting them.

Hopefully after a few weeks of their new routine, children will be able to flourish socially, emotionally, and educationally. However, as curricula in primary and secondary schools continue to narrow, many schools begin to pressure students into studying subjects the school is measured on, consequently disrupting opportunities for children to feel self-determined in their education. As a result, many children spend much of their adult lives recovering from such.

Resilience is a process, not an outcome. And just like any other process, it takes constant work in order for us positively adapt. The performing arts are a powerful catalyst for promoting a multitude of aspects relating to wellbeing, and for developing confidence and resilience. An often overlooked aspect of resilience is having a special interest – something providing the platform for developing more well-known aspects of resilience, such as persistence, sociability, flexibility, and feelings of self-worth. This is unsurprising, since when we value or are passionate about something, we are more likely to persevere and reap the rewards that achievement and ownership provide. We need something in our lives that makes us feel selfdetermined, and hopefully, the skills we develop through the process can transfer to other aspects of our lives. Increasingly, students have begun looking beyond the school gates for opportunities to develop a passion, be it sport, performing arts, or a range of other creative skills. These environments need to be inclusive, accepting, and inspiring. Stagecoach is all of these.

Young people of all ages attend Stagecoach for many reasons, but at the heart of it all is simply a genuine love for performing arts and the desire to be part of something. Time and time again, Stagecoach students demonstrate numerous examples of the facets of resilience: forming relationships with others, uninhibited enjoyment, fearless trial and error, and working at something they consider really worthwhile, just to name a few.

So, as we settle into the new school year, if you find your child is in need of some resilience and confidence building, look for a new hobby or special interest that may help them through the challenges in their lives – educational and otherwise. Help them, through pursuing their interests and seizing the power generated, to thrive and not just survive.

Dr Alison Daubney
Dr Alison Daubney
PhD and Chartered Psychologist Gregory Daubney, co-authors of Play: The psychology of optimal music performance.

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