Skip to content

Resiliency introduced…

April 30, 2011

Many moons ago, I found this brief on resilience:

It is aimed at parents, but provides an interesting overview to the idea of resilience – and some of the support structures ‘we’ believe it is built around/within.  They make the full report freely available as a PDF.  In it, the authors write:

What children need to build resilience

Resilience is built on three main building blocks:

  • I CAN…make a difference. I can:
    • talk to others about things that frighten or bother me
    • find someone to help me when I need it
    • find ways to solve problems
    • control myself when needed.
  • I AM…a worthwhile person. I am:
    • loved and loveable
    • happy to do nice things for others and show I care
    • respectful of others and myself
    • willing to be responsible for what I do.
  • I HAVE…people around who I trust and who love and support me. They:
    • show me how to do things right
    • want me to learn to do things on my own
    • help me when I am sick or in trouble
    • will keep me safe.

Children also need

  • families (in all the many forms)
  • supervision, limit setting and support
  • to make a contribution
  • to feel they can succeed
  • to feel good about themselves
  • to try new things
  • to feel included and appreciated
  • other people for support
  • to feel they can count on you
  • a sense of optimism
  • people they can look up to
  • to learn to persist
  • a sense of humour
In the consequent section, they describe what can be stressful to a child and then suggest what parents can do.  Amongst these suggestions (and of interest to me in terms of how literature for young adults represents relationships/life in families and communities, etc.) are the following:

Get support for yourself

Sometimes things go wrong between parents and children. Parents and babies can have a tough start to life for all sorts of reasons. It is important to try to get things sorted out whatever your child’s age. This may mean you need to get support from a professional who has special skills in this area. The effort put in early will pay off in the long run.

Belong to a spiritual community

This can provide support, friendship, meaning and purpose to life.

Have family rituals to celebrate events and daily routines

The little special things that you do every day and on special occasions help build a sense of inner security. The family routines and rituals are powerful organisers of family life that offer stability in times of stress or when families are in trouble.
Special rituals are about how you celebrate special occasions, eg birthdays, name days, family reunions, Christmas. These can include the day your child was adopted, started school or got a job, or your family became a step-family.

Daily routines can be, for example:

  • tucking your child into bed and kissing her goodnight
  • how you say goodbye in the morning
  • something special that you do when your child gets home from school
  • what you do when having a meal together.

Children should feel loved and loveable, be respectful and responsible and know to whom they can turn in times of need.

Children should see mistakes as a basis for learning – too much protection from disappointment and failure may not give children the chance to learn how to deal with their mistakes or difficult situations.


  • Resilient children are not unaffected by trauma, but they are better able to cope effectively with challenges and overcome adversity.
  • Children need to feel loved and lovable – not only when they do things well.
  • Children need to feel they have some control in their lives.
  • Children need to feel that they can be successful at something.
  • Children need a sense of belonging.
  • Children need other people, apart from their parents, who care about them and support them.
  • Grandparents can be a special support for children and teenagers.
  • How parents respond, and how you help children respond to difficult situations, can promote or destroy resilience.

By way of another note-to-self, some of the references included in this article when I first accessed it (on the 5/12/2005) and that looked interesting with regards to resiliency were:

Grotburg, Edith ‘A Guide to promoting resilience in children: strengthening the human spirit’, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, 1995

Luther et al. ‘Vulnerability and competence: a review of research on resilience in childhood’ in Amer J. Orthopsychiatry 61(1) Jan 1991

Rutter, Michael ‘Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms’ in Amer J. Orthopsychiatry 57(3) July 1987

Werner, Emmy E. ‘Vulnerable but invincible: a longitudinal study of resilient children and youth’. U.S. McGraw Hill, 1982

AND, one other article reference I found at the same time was:

‘Behavior problems in New York City’s Children after the Sept 11 2001 Terrorist Attacks’ Amer J Ortho… 2005: p190  (I assume it was Amer J. Orthopsychiatry)


Comments are closed.