Other Free Encyclopedias » Social Issues Reference » Child Development Reference - Vol 6 » Resiliency - How Resiliency Works, Growing Up Resilient, Profile Of A Resilient Child, Resilience-based Programs

Resiliency - Growing Up Resilient

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For the newborn, good health is a protective factor. Another is being an easy baby, that is, an active and good-natured baby with an easy temperament. These babies elicit a positive response from the primary caretaker. The age of the opposite sex parent is an influence but it differs: younger mothers for resilient males but older fathers for resilient females. Spacing is protective if there are two years or more between children, as is having four or fewer children in a family. Other protective factors important in infancy are the mother's workload and the number and type of alternative caretakers available to the mother. The amount of attention given by the mother or primary caretaker is yet another. In considering these factors it is easy to see the interaction among them.

As the child grows, the care-giving style of the parents comes to the forefront as a protective factor. This is a realm where self-esteem can be fostered and the child can acquire areas of skill and mastery. Socialization within the family works as a strengthening shield when trust, autonomy, initiative, and affective ties are encouraged. Families fostering resilience often include relatives with similar values and beliefs who are available to pitch in when the parent or parents are not present. Also common is either a brother, or sister, or close friend who takes care of the other children.

Interestingly, an intact family is not a consistent factor. A father's absence is not the determining factor in resilience—more important is the overall coping and functioning of the family, with low discord. An organized home environment that includes structure and monitoring does contribute to fostering resilience.

Other caring relationships develop in school. Along with extended family members, teachers are extremely important as confidants, mentors, or positive role models. During middle childhood and adolescence, encouraging school environments are a powerful factor. A school buffers stress when it provides a place to excel at something—to be recognized and feel good about one's self has a definite buffering effect. Schools that foster resilience have high expectations for children and provide them with opportunities for participation and contribution. In such empowering schools, students' self-esteem, self-efficacy, and positive values are reinforced. Additional supportive environments include churches, clubs, and organizations that furnish positive role models. Through these, caring adults lessen the effects of the risk factors. The community at large can also contribute, when it makes good public health care available and provides high levels of public safety.

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