ResilientKids™ Teacher Guide

Self-Management & Responsible Decision-Making

This section defines the key concepts covered in this chapter. These are the central themes upon which the activities are based.


Perseverance is a character trait shown to serve children well in the future. Whether this means working through a complicated math problem or not dropping out of high school, developing staying-power in the face of adversity is an important skill that can be taught.


Developing an intrinsic drive requires skills such as open-mindedness, focus, and the ability to shift perspective. By looking internally for the source of that motivation, we can reconnect with our resilience and manage curve balls or setbacks along the way.


Once we connect with our motivation, then we can turn our attention to the effort required for everything we do. Students will learn about the quality of their effort, applying focus and perseverance while remaining caring and compassionate toward themselves and others. This requires a fine balance, clear perspective and a level of comfort amidst the discomfort.


Assimilating new ideas and information into our view of the world enriches the way we experience life. It can also prove difficult when the new information challenges mindsets or beliefs we have held for a long time. A willingness to be open to new ideas requires students to call upon their curiosity, perspective-taking, self-awareness, listening and empathy skills, all of which are strengthened through the practice of mindfulness.


When our brain sends us a feel-good rush of dopamine, we get positive reinforcement from our actions. This is why it takes effort to intentionally stop clicking “next episode” or to stop scrolling through Instagram or TikTok. Even though the time we spend passively watching does require less brain activity, it is still not considered the rest or downtime required for your brain to actively process emotions and content that come at us throughout the day.

This section offers direction as to where the program is headed in this chapter and some notes about things to look for in your students as you answer the reflection questions at the end of Chapter 4.


Not acting on impulse is foundational to self-management and responsible decision-making. Learning to insert a momentary pause in between stimulus and response is a life-skill that requires self-awareness and practice. Something as simple as taking a breath before starting the next task, turning the page of the book or starting standardized testing can help develop this skill.


Kids are told all day long to “pay attention” but never actually taught how to do this! The skill of focusing includes elements of listening (with your whole body), concentrating, and remembering, all of which are enhanced when staying present in the moment. In these lessons, students strengthen their “concentration muscle” just as they build their physical muscles in physical education classes. This provides students with multiple tools they can use to manage their attention, ultimately increasing learning-readiness.


We are presented with choices all day long. By building upon students’ self-knowledge, self-trust and self-confidence, they will more innately look inward to make more intentional decisions or offer skillful responses. No matter the age, how students interact with peers, choose language in-person or on social media, or respond to peer-pressure, the influences among kids are strong. When students are confident in their ability to stand up for what is right, they become less susceptible to the influences all around them.


One way students learn to believe in themselves is by setting goals, initiating action and reflecting on the process. Each of these elements requires students to take skillful initiative, respond to constraints and conditions, enlist creative problem-solving skills and call upon their self-knowledge and self-trust. These all lead to students feeling empowered and confident.


Building upon the basic understanding that our emotions influence our behaviors and the behaviors of those around us, both positively and negatively, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, leverage and manage one’s emotions. The term emotional intelligence was first coined in the 90s and made popular by science reporter and psychologist-author Daniel Goleman. It describes a set of skills that begins to be acquired in childhood and can be continuously developed throughout life. In fact, more and more companies are screening for emotional intelligence during the hiring process, so these are important skills for students to develop.


Rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise, largely due to the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) which children experience. Despite tracking adverse experiences as though they are one-time events, often our students are living in adverse environments where they are repeatedly exposed to trauma. This puts them at a higher risk for chronic health issues and physiologic disruptions to their developing brain, widening health disparities. The practice of mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress. Middle and high-school students using the ResilientKidsTM curriculum report a 30% reduction in stress.

The questions on the Chapter 4 Teacher Reflection Form are listed below so you can keep them in the back of your mind as you progress through the chapter.

1. Do students show improved tenacity?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

2. Do students recognize moments where they're making intentional choices?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

3. Do students return to previous activities that resonate with them?

A. If yes, which categories do they return to most frequently?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from doing this?

4. Can students articulate ways to manage stress and emotions?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

5. Do students approach new information or situations with open-mindedness, care and compassion?

A. If yes, which do they show most frequently?

    • Curiosity
    • Perspective-taking
    • Self-awareness
    • Empathy
    • Self-trust
    • Self-knowledge
    • Confidence
    • Other

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

6. Have students increased their time on task?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from being able to do this?

7. Please use this space to provide any additional information you would like us to know.

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