Many of us have a fairly strong grasp of what resiliency looks like. Sometimes it is called "bouncing back" or the lesson to "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again". It's the concept that allows children to learn how to write their names, ride a bike or pass a driver's test. None of these things are easy the first time we try them but our ability to be resilient and persevere are the personality characteristics that carry us through. It may not be difficult to understand resiliency as a concept, but how do we teach our children how to get back up after life has knocked them down?



    Some children face the more common stressors of divorce or illness. Other children are faced with catastrophes- disease, floods, hurricanes, tornados, poverty, etc. Whether such experiences crush or strengthen an individual child depends, in part, on his or her resilience.


    Resilience is important because it is the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by or even transformed by the adversities of life. Everyone faces adversities; no one is exempt. With resilience, children can triumph over trauma, without it, trauma (adversity) triumphs. Along with food and shelter, children need love and trust, hope and autonomy (sense of self). Important terms:


    • Resiliency: universal capacity which allows a person… to prevent, minimize or overcome the damaging effects of adversity.

    • Optimism: a stable belief that one will generally experience good outcomes in life. Believing things will work out for the best.

    • Perceived competence: Our expectation that we can effectively interact with our environment. Believing we know what to do and can do what it takes to be successful. Both optimism and perceived competence are related to well-being, better coping with stress and more effective self-regulation, and as a result, greater resilience.