How to Build Your Teen’s Resilience

Resilience is a sort of inner strength. When a teen feels good about who they are, has self-confidence and self-worth, they likely have resilience. You might describe resilience as a psychological quality, one that can assist teens in saying no to drugs, curbing peer pressure, knowing when to make the right choices, and avoiding risky behavior. Resilient teens are those who have learned to manage stress effectively. They tend to be those who have healthy relationships with adults, easy going dispositions, and inner resources that position them to move easily into adulthood.

But not all teens have this sort of character. Teens instead might be vulnerable and sensitive to certain stressful situations. If you’d like to help develop your teen’s inner strength, you can. Building resilience is possible with specific activities that teens can do for themselves. For instance:

Promote having healthy friendships and social connections. It’s actually important for teens to spend time with friends. Positive experiences with friends and peers can help a teen feel supported, and that in turn, can help with feeling strong. Knowing that there are friends, family, and professionals around you can promote making positive choices.

Encourage self-discovery in your teen. Part of getting to know yourself is being emotionally aware. Emotional awareness involves the ability to recognize your moment-to-moment emotional experience and handle all of your emotions without becoming overwhelmed. Research indicates that adolescents who are emotionally aware and who are generally resilient will be able to avoid drug use and successfully transition into adulthood.

Have your teen set realistic goals. Teens who set goals for themselves and then achieve them are more likely to feel good about who they are and where they’re going. You may need to encourage your teen to set small goals to begin with. Once those goals are met, they can set more long-term goals. As you reach each goal, you can aim higher.

Encourage your teen to take good care of themselves. Exercise, eat well, and learn to relax. Sleep is also an important ingredient to healthy living. Getting at least 9 hours per day is ideal for adolescents, giving them a balanced internal rhythm of rest

Promote activities that can help build self-trust in your teen. When a teen can trust their mind, they are better at making decisions and solving problems. And in turn, this can help build resilience. When teens feel confident in their communication, problem solving, conflict resolving skills, they are likely going to feel confident in themselves.

Model for your teen a winner’s attitude. Sometimes teens need to learn to never give up. No matter the challenge, if a teen can hang in there in the problem, this too can help build resilience.

Teach your teen to learn from their mistakes. You can let your teen know that everyone makes a mistake from time to time. When your teen has the permission to ask questions and be curious about past experiences, they have the opportunity to learn from them. This in turn can facilitate doing it differently next time.


These are suggestions for building resilience in your teen. When your teen feels strong on the inside, they are likely to make healthy choices and avoid risky behavior.