December 2023 Newsletter – Practices that Support Healthy Development: Build Resilience

Build Resilience

Resilience can be described as a person’s ability to bounce back from challenging situations. People display resilience by getting back on their feet after a medical condition, the loss of a loved one, or losing a job. The difficult situations that children face may not be as big, but that does not make them any less challenging. Children can experience challenges when transitioning from one classroom to another, or even after the birth of a sibling.

Studies have shown that children can be greatly impacted by life events that are referred to as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs.

According to the CDC, ACEs include:

  • experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
  • witnessing violence in the home or community
  • food and housing insecurity
  • experiencing discrimination or racism
  • witnessing substance use problems in the home
  • close adults who struggle with mental health problems
  • experiencing instability due to divorce, parental separation, or household members being incarcerated
  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide

Adverse childhood experiences and other forms of stress can cause the body’s stress response system to go into overdrive and remain at a heightened level long after the direct threat is present. This can have lasting negative impacts on the body as well as brain development.

Luckily, researchers have also identified several protective factors that help strengthen resilience, or the child’s ability to bounce back from these challenging life events. A few protective factors include:

  • A supportive relationship with at least one adult – it can be someone other than the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
  • Positive self-concept – meaning that the child feels confident in themselves and their skills.
  • Self-regulation – coping skills to manage strong feelings, problem-solving skills, etc.
  • A sense of connection with a larger group, such as a faith congregation or cultural group.
  • Parental well-being – when parents’ needs are met, they are better able to meet the needs of their children.
  • Empowerment – the feeling of purpose and/or agency.

You can read more about protective factors here.

 

For the main article Practices that Support Healthy Development, CLICK HERE

For the article Serve and Return, CLICK HERE

For the article Strengthening Cultural Responsiveness, CLICK HERE

For the article Build Strong Relationships with Families, CLICK HERE