Help Your Children Build Resiliency

Help Your Children Build Resiliency

Posted by the T2 Public Affairs Office on September 28, 2017

Moving to a new state or country. Starting classes in a new school. A mom or dad leaving home for a deployment.

For a child, changes like these can be daunting. But for military children, these challenges also present tremendous opportunities. More than most kids, those in military families get to experience life in lots of places around the world. A new school can also mean making new friends or trying new activities. Learning how to cope and even blossom during transitions can help children build a valuable lifelong skill: resiliency.

As Desiree Ahmann, an Iraq War veteran and Army career counselor, put it in a commentary in Task & Purpose: “Being a military family has made us all very resilient. A military life can be unpredictable, so parents and children have to be ready to switch gears at a moment’s notice. My kids take this in stride, and they are stronger for it. This has made them adaptable to any situation and boosted their self-confidence.”

But children usually don’t learn resilience by themselves. Resilience is a skill — like math or reading — and parents need to know how to foster this strength in their sons and daughters. Here are just a few ways to help them:

  • Stick to a daily routine, which can be comforting to children. This can be particularly important when life is already disrupted by a change like moving to a new school in a new town.
  • Set a good self-care example for your children by eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep.
  • Help your children remember how they successfully handled hard times in the past.
  • Sit down together and share age-appropriate books and movies that focus on children coping with a tough experience and getting through it.
  • Teach your children to set reasonable goals and offer praise for moving toward them, even if the steps are small. This will help your kids focus on what they have accomplished rather than on what they haven’t.

For more advice, check out these resources on the AfterDeployment website:

  • Ten Tips for Building Resilience in Children and Teens. Find lots of practical tips and specific things you can do to help your child thrive.
  • Families with Kids. Get guidance on helping your children cope with the deployment experience.
  • Family Resilience Begins With You. Learn how to support your children, strengthen family relationships and find help for yourself.

The Military Kids Connect website also provides resiliency tools that help kids prepare for significant family transitions. For example, Military Kids Connect’s monitored online forums for older kids offer military children a way to share their ideas, experiences and suggestions. Knowing they are not alone makes it easier to deal with the stresses of military life.

Resilience is an essential part of healthy development. It builds self-esteem and helps children respond positively to life’s challenges. However, be mindful of warning signs like depression and severe anxiety, which may mean your child needs additional support. Remember, there is nothing wrong with getting help! Taking that essential step just shows you’re being a good parent. Community Terms and Conditions

  • If you have feelings of suicide, hopelessness or depression - please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

  • reserves the right to edit and/or remove any user-generated content that violates these Terms and Conditions. The contents of the site, such as text, graphics, images, information, and other material contained on the site ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the site. If you choose to participate in the forums and/or blog ("Community") you agree to these Terms and Conditions.

  • Community posts and comments are reviewed by the Moderators for appropriateness before they are published to the Community. Posts and comments are reviewed between the hours of 0800 and 1700 hours Pacific Time, Monday through Friday and will go live immediately after review unless they are deemed inappropriate based on these Terms and Conditions at which time they will be deleted without notification.

    You will not be contacted at any point by any member of the staff, nor any related agency or organization. If you are in need of assistance or medical attention, please contact the DCoE Outreach Center or National Suicide Prevention Hotline listed in the top right corner of your screen.
  • You agree not to hold liable for anything stated within the Community. Messages and/or comments posted at this site are the sole opinion and responsibility of the poster. makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained within the Community.

  • and its Moderators reserve the right to remove, edit or delete without notice any and all content placed in the Community.

  • Moderator and/or action may be final. Actions may be reversed by or a Moderator after review of the matter.

  • Using the forum to solicit discussions contrary to the Terms and Conditions may be considered unacceptable.

  • It is your responsibility to be familiar with and remain updated to current Community Forum Terms and Conditions. All users of the Community must comply with these Terms and Conditions. Infractions of any Term or Condition may result in revocation of forum privileges.

  • General content that is inflammatory, vulgar, sexually explicit, rude or otherwise inappropriate will not be tolerated and will be removed.

  • Always be respectful of the Community, employees, and Moderators. Be civil, clean, and decent in all posts. Open discussions of varying points of view are encouraged but only if they remain constructive and not inflammatory. Personal attacks are neither allowed nor tolerated. Anyone using/ posting inappropriate content, language, personal attacks, engaging in hate speeches and rants, or being disruptive to the Community's positive environment may be barred from all further discussions and/ or the Community.

  • The Community is not a venue for personal or private vendettas or causes, including political debates.

  • Links to adult content, pages with links to adult content, or messages describing anything inconsistent with these Terms and Conditions will be removed.

  • Do not post copyrighted material or articles written by others without their permission.

  • Do not post altered-text as an attempt to defeat forum word-filters or otherwise circumvent the rules.

  • Nicknames, signatures, and avatars are not allowed on the site.

  • Keep forum thread discussions on topic, and within the subject of the forum. Please do not "hijack" or "bump" the thread to gain additional exposure to a post or yourself. Please do not
    cross-post within other forums and threads.

  • Content and Spam that is posted for the sole-purpose of unrelated promotion will be removed and may result in a permanent loss of forum privileges.

  • Anyone posting another member's personal or website details will be banned. Please do not post sensitive or confidential information to the Community about yourself or other members. Examples include account information, private communications with moderators, etc.