Healthy Child Development

Building Resilient Youth

What is "resilience"?

"Resilience" is the ability to "bounce back" from difficult situations and to make healthier choices when coping with life's challenges.

Research shows that resilient youth are less likely to have problems related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, gang participation, gambling, gaming or other potentially harmful behaviours.

How can you help your teen make good decisions?

The teenage years can be challenging, both for teens and for their parents. After all, this is a time filled with physical, emotional and social changes.

When you as parents support your teenager's belief in their own worth, you can help them to cope with life's challenges, to learn from their mistakes and build "resilience."

How can you help your teen stay on track?

You can play an important role in helping your teen to cope in positive ways including healthy eating, being physically active and getting enough sleep. It all starts with keeping the lines of communication open so your teen knows what is expected.

If you think your teen is having problems, let them know you are on their side and that you want to support them.

Comments from Teens

image of male youth and older man working at a computer

"I feel much better about my day if my mom gives me a smile when I leave the house."
– 15 year old boy

"It really means a lot to me when my dad comes out to see me in the school play."
– 15 year old boy

image of female youth and older woman eating together

 "Maybe I should have outgrown this by now, but I still like spending time with my family."
– 14 year old girl

"I make big mistakes, not little ones. When I do, I need my parents to help me learn from my mistakes, not judge or punish me."
– 17 year old girl

Practical Tips for Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices

ExpandListen to what your teen has to say.

Help your teen have positive relationships by keeping communication open. Being listened to encourages teens to talk. Invite your teenager to share their opinions – even if they're different from your own. By doing this, your teen may be more willing to talk with you about such things as who they are spending time with, where they are going and how they plan to keep safe.

ExpandPraise your teen's efforts and respect their individuality.

Praise your teen for the things they have tried to do well – whether it is getting a good grade, helping out at home, expressing themselves through art or enjoying a sport or hobby.

When you recognize your teen's contributions to the family, to their school and community, you help them build a positive sense of self. Celebrating your teen's achievements also shows that you respect and value their individuality.

ExpandSet a good example yourself.

Your teenager is watching and listening to how you behave. Be responsible about your own use of alcohol and other drugs, as well as things like gambling and gaming. Have healthy personal relationships. Remember that nobody's perfect! Mistakes — your teen's and your own — can be valuable learning opportunities.