RESILIENCE IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND THE RESULT IN ADULTHOOD
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.