Children and teens face a variety of challenges in their daily lives. They can be asked to deal with adapting to a new classroom or virtual learning, bullying by peers, neighborhood violence, or even struggles at home.

In the early years, children have difficulty expressing in words their internal emotions. This can happen when children misbehave when waiting for their turn, or when they throw a tantrum when they get frustrated for not getting their needs met.

In their teenage years, youth are trying to have a better sense of their own identity. They tend to rebel against rules, and are highly influenced by the attitudes and beliefs of their peers.

According to the American Psychological Association (2020), “the ability to thrive despite these challenges arises from the skills of resilience.” (1)

The APA adds that resilience skills can be learned!

Resilience is the ability to manage with the stress caused by difficult situations, and developing it, is crucial for preventing initial substance use/misuse for youth. There are several characteristics found in resilient children such as high self-esteem, empathy, help-seeking, and self-awareness that prevent children from engaging in harmful substances like tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol (Access Health, 2020) (2).

And resilience starts AT HOME! Parents can assist their children/teens to develop resilience. However, what if the parents themselves do not know how to help their children/teens to do so?

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Prevention Department, is getting ready to offer the Strengthening Families Program for parents and children/teens, ages 6-17 years old!

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP), is a 14 week, evidence-based family skills training program, which is designed to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic and social problems.

This program teaches resilience skills!

It provides lessons on:

  • Speaking and Listening

  • Planning & Organizing (family meetings)

  • Problem Solving

  • Peer Resistance

  • Restoring Self-Esteem

  • Identifying Feelings, Taking Criticism

  • Managing Feelings, Coping with Anger

This program helps parents/caregivers to:

  • improve family communication;

  • provide effective discipline;

  • set constructive limitations;

  • use attention and rewards to improve their children’s behavior

  • participants understand the negative impact of substance abuse on family relationships

It helps children/teens to:

  • develop better communication and social skills;

  • understand their feelings;

  • solve problems;

  • resist peer pressure;

  • learn the consequences of substance abuse, and

  • comply with family rules

We will meet once a week, via Zoom, from 6:00-7:30p.m.. If you live in Anne Arundel County, around the North county area, we will meet every Tuesday, starting on March 1, 2022. If you live in the Annapolis area, we will meet every Wednesday, starting on March 2, 2022.

This is a free program, and participants receive all program materials and incentives for participating.

If you think you or anyone you know could benefit from this program, please contact:

Loise Taliaferro, Strengthening Families Supervisor for Anne Arundel County Department of Health at hdtali00@aacounty.or or at 410-507-5147

We will be happy to assist our families to build strong, resilient communities!


  1. American Psychological Association (2020, August 26). Resilience guide for parents and teachers. Retrieved on January 10, 2022 from

  2. Access Health (2020, February 24). Resilience Helps to Prevent Youth Substance Use. Retrieved from Retrieved on November 30, 2021.