People need many skills to be resilient and healthy, successful in life, and active in their communities. Nurturing resilience means supporting young people as they develop living and learning skills and explore their own talents and interests.

These skills are valuable in and of themselves. The process of developing a skill also contributes to a young person’s resilience. Frustration is common when youth learn new skills. Those who persist in spite of frustration develop an optimistic mindset. They gain strength to help them overcome future challenges. They also benefit from interacting with supportive adults and building relationships in which they feel valued and respected.

Strategies to strengthen this factor:

  • Adapt school- and community-based learning environments so that children with learning and physical disabilities can take part and fully benefit.
  • In workshops and classes, use learner-centred approaches such as drama and activities to help young people learn about and practise living and learning skills.
  • Give young people opportunities to make decisions about their own lives and to make group decisions.
  • Provide a sounding board, mentor, or coach to young people who are trying to get through a problem or conflict.
  • Expose youth to a wide range of healthy strategies for coping with challenges and managing stress.
  • Expose youth to a range of stimulating and challenging learning experiences at home, school, and in the community.
  • Support young people’s talents and interests.
  • Celebrate young people’s accomplishments.
  • Accept young people’s limitations and encourage them to do the same.

Community success stories - South Etobicoke Youth Assemblytrophy, Alexandria Sk8park trophy

Living skills 

Living skills include personal skills, interpersonal skills, and critical and creative thinking skills. These help people to navigate life and to promote their own health and well-being.

Personal skills build young people’s resilience by preparing them to protect and maintain their mental health and well-being. They include:

  • Self-awareness and self-monitoring skills: These are skills that help young people understand themselves and develop a positive sense of self. People with these skills are able to realistically assess their own areas of strength and weakness. They can monitor their progress in developing skills. They take responsibility for their actions and their learning. They recognize their own feelings and what causes them.
  • Adaptive, coping, and management skills: These are skills that help young people respond to difficulties and develop control over their lives. People with these skills are flexible and know how to problem-solve and manage their time. They can also manage stress and employ relaxation techniques and conflict resolution skills. They have an optimistic attitude and know how to express emotions and ask for help.

Interpersonal skills help young people interact well with others, build healthy relationships, and work in groups. These skills include:

  • Communication skills (non-verbal and verbal): These skills enable young people to receive and interpret information from other people. They do this by actively listening and observing non-verbal signals and body language. They also enable them to express themselves effectively, using feedback skills, assertive skills, negotiation skills, and refusal skills.
  • Relationship and social skills: These skills enable youth to build and maintain a strong social network and contribute to their community They involve respecting and appreciating differences, being empathetic, working in teams, resolving conflicts, and showing leadership.

Critical and creative thinking skills include planning, processing, drawing conclusions, presenting results, and reflecting and evaluating. These are essential for youth to find their way through challenges and make healthier choices. Young people can draw on these skills to solve problems, make decisions, set goals, and learn from experience.

Learning skills

Young people spend much of their time acquiring new knowledge and skills. Youth with well-developed learning skills are good problem solvers, eager to learn new things, creative, flexible, curious, motivated, and goal-oriented, with a strong sense of purpose. Well-developed learning skills are the foundation for success, which in turn nurtures confidence, self-esteem, and resilience.

Each young person has unique learning strengths, or ways to take in, absorb, and apply information. These strengths are a combination of their inborn intelligence and the knowledge and skills they develop through formal and informal education.

Extracurricular skills

Being involved in sports, arts and culture, and other hobbies gives young people a chance to develop their skills and social systems, experience a sense of competence, and have more outlets for fulfillment.