Resilience is a mixture of nature and nurture. Attributes that some children are born with, such as good intellectual ability and a placid, cheerful temperament, are associated with resilience. Children who are born prematurely and/or with disabilities, who cry and cannot be comforted, who cannot sleep or who will not accept being held are more vulnerable to adversity and may be less likely to be resilient.
There are, however, many other qualities associated with resilience which develop through children’s life experiences — the main ones can be summarised as follows:
Good self esteem derives from being accepted by people whose relationship one values and from accomplishment in tasks one values. Praise, on its own, will not improve self-esteem; the child him or herself has also to ascribe value to the achievement.
A belief in one’s own self-efficacy means having the qualities of optimism; ‘stickability’ and believing that one’s own efforts can make a difference. For children and young people who have had very damaging childhoods the creation of ‘survivor’s pride’, i.e. the ability to value how far they have overcome huge adversity in their lives, is helpful. Young people’s sense of self-efficacy is enhanced by taking responsibility and making decisions.
Initiative is the ability and willingness to take action, including action to stop abuse occurring. Children and young people facing adversity are in a stronger position to deal with it if they are able to take the initiative in finding ‘creative’ responses. This sometimes combines with a strong sense of responsibility towards others such as siblings.
Faith and morality can be described as ‘a belief in a broader value system which can help the child to persist in problem solving or in surviving a set of challenging life circumstances. A sense of coherence in their experiences gives the child a feeling of rootedness; the conviction that life... [continues]
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