Resilience in Children

Although nothing can entirely wipe out the effect of trauma, research has shown that there are many factors in a child’s life that can promote resilience. Children can be more likely to “bounce back” from trauma if they:

  • Have a strong, supportive relationship with a competent and caring adult
  • Feel a connection with a positive role model or mentor
  • Feel that their talents and abilities are being recognized and nurtured
  • Feel some sense of control over their lives; being empowered can help in their recovery from trauma
  • Feel invested in and part of a larger community, be it their neighborhood, faith-based groups, scout troop or extended family

As a resource parent, you can play a big role in helping the children in your care develop resilience. To help children overcome trauma it is important to:

  • Provide a secure base of love and protection
  • Be emotionally and physically available
  • Recognize and respond to the child’s needs
  • Provide guidance
  • Provide opportunities for children to safety explore the world around them

There will be times you will need to impose consequences for inappropriate and problematic behavior. When correcting behaviors and establishing consequences, keep in mind how trauma affects children’s sense of self and their ability to control their emotions and behavior. When correcting children who have experienced trauma, remember to:

  • Be clear, calm and consistent
  • Target one behavior at a time
  • Avoid shaming or threatening, especially threatening children with removal from the home for bad behavior
  • Keep the child’s “emotional age” in mind when you give consequences
  • Pick your battles

Continue to Trauma-Focused Treatment