It’s no secret that having resilience is an important aspect of everyday life. It allows us to cope with stress in a healthy manner, learn from life’s challenges, and grow in the face of adversity.


In fact, resilience doesn’t only enhance our mental and emotional wellbeing – there are physical benefits too. From lower rates of depression to an increased lifespan, to a stronger immune system, having (or learning) resilience can quite literally change the course of our lives for the better.


So, how do we become resilient? And, more importantly, how do we raise resilient tamariki?


Surprisingly, it’s not actually as hard as we may think – yet many people grow up in an environment where these fundamental skills are lacking.


Those lacking in resilience can turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, and face an increased likelihood of developing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. To help our tamariki not just survive, but thrive, in the face of adversity, here’s what we need to be teaching them:


The power of connection

With relationships, people, and connections central to Māori and Māori wellbeing, we need to make sure that our tamariki are surrounded by people who care. Whanaungatanga in particular is a foundational value for Māori, created through forming, sharing, and maintaining close relationships and ties with people and communities, which we can accomplish by creating a supportive and inclusive environment for our tamariki.


Their identity

Identity is fundamental in learning and promoting resilience in tamariki. It ensures that tamariki Māori understand who they are, where they come from, and their connection to their whānau and whakapapa, enhancing their sense of self and confidence in their abilities. Having the awareness that we are part of something greater than ourselves allows us to focus on the bigger picture, giving us the knowledge that whatever we’re going through, we’re in it together.


Help them develop healthy coping mechanisms

People cope with stress in different ways, with different things working for different people. When they’re young, encourage them to find what works for them. When they’re upset, does getting outside in nature help ground them and calm down? Perhaps listening to their favourite music allows them to process their feelings, or speaking with a loved one about what’s going on for them when they’re feeling overwhelmed? Whatever it is, encourage them to find what works for them, giving them their own tried and tested tools they can turn to when life becomes tough.


Raising resilient tamariki is crucial, especially for our tamariki who have faced adversity from a young age. With the right tools, people, and support around them, tamariki can learn resilience and grow from their challenges, creating a life where anything is possible.