Psy­chol­ogy

RE­SILIENCE IN CHILD DE­VEL­OP­MENT AND THE RE­SULT IN ADULT­HOOD

Doctor's Plaza Health Magazine - - Contents - An­nie Ljungqvist

Have you ever no­ticed chil­dren’s drive to ‘keep go­ing’? Their abil­ity to fall, slip, trip, and bump into var­i­ous ob­jects in and out­side house­holds yet still get up and con­tinue play­ing. This is one of the most ad­mirable qual­i­ties in chil­dren. If we pay at­ten­tion chil­dren can teach us many things. For ex­am­ple, the in­flu­ence and ef­fec­tive­ness of re­silience.

The gen­eral mean­ing of re­silience is the abil­ity to adapt, with­stand, and/or re­cover from any ad­ver­sity. Re­silience is the foun­da­tion of the many sto­ries we have been told through­out our child­hood such as Her­cules and Cin­derella. It also re­told in his­tor­i­cal sto­ries like Alexan­der the Great or the Swahili story of Kin­jek­i­tile. The com­mon fac­tor in these sto­ries is that the main char­ac­ters pre­vailed de­spite the ad­ver­si­ties they faced. In ad­di­tion to teach­ing re­silience, this also high­lights the im­por­tance of sto­ry­telling in de­vel­op­ment –mainly to in­spire the young, and teach them in a lan­guage that is eas­ily un­der­stood and en­joy­able for them.

As adults, our abil­ity to carry on af­ter a set­back in life is de­pen­dent on the re­silience we de­velop in our child­hood. A study by Ong et al (2006) found that adult re­sponses to stress­ful sit­u­a­tions and their abil­ity to re­cover from stress re­lated in­ci­dents was highly de­pen­dent on their level of re­silience. Re­silience is one of the qual­i­ties that helps chil­dren and adults alike over­come the ef­fects from abuse, death, divorce, poverty, fam­ily dys­func­tion, and other chal­lenges that may af­fect healthy de­vel­op­ment and life­styles.

So how do we pro­mote and safe­guard re­silience?

We can pro­mote trust­ing (fa­mil­ial) re­la­tion­ships, pos­i­tive role mod­els, en­cour­age chil­dren to try and sup­port their ini­ti­ates, com­mu­ni­cate, lis­ten, sup­port, help them prob­lem solve and teach them to man­age feel­ings and im­pulses. With re­gards to role mod­el­ling, it is im­por­tant to keep in mind, chil­dren tend to learn more by do­ing what you do and less by do­ing as you say. As the say­ing goes ‘the life you live is the les­son you teach’.

RE­SILIENCE IS ONE OF THE QUAL­I­TIES THAT HELPS CHIL­DREN AND ADULTS ALIKE OVER­COME THE EF­FECTS FROM ABUSE, DEATH, DIVORCE, POVERTY, FAM­ILY DYS­FUNC­TION, AND OTHER CHAL­LENGES THAT MAY AF­FECT HEALTHY DE­VEL­OP­MENT AND LIFE­STYLES.

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