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What is meant by the term resilience in children who face challenging life...

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sandy2313 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted May 24, 2013 at 1:25 AM via web

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What is meant by the term resilience in children who face challenging life circumstances during their early years, and what are some relevant factors which seem to be instrumental in whether or not a given child tends to be resilient?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 24, 2013 at 2:21 AM (Answer #1)

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Resilience is the concept of bouncing back from trauma, or overcoming obstacles.

Resilience has been studied for years, and recently there has been a surge of interest in “grit” in children.  Intelligence alone is not enough for children to succeed.  Sometimes it is more important to be able to pick yourself up and keep on fighting.  A child with resilience can overcome family problems, learning disabilities, illness, or tragedy.

As the New York Times notes, character is one of the most important elements to success.  Part of character is the ability to overcome tough times without falling apart.  Some poor children especially "develop habits that impede their ability to learn."  Any child can develop a habit that helps them succeed: grit.  Author Paul Tough defines grit as "resilience, integrity, resourcefulness, professionalism and ambition.”

Resilience is partly a personality trait, but it can be fostered.  It needs to be taught, like any other skill.  Parents and other caregivers can stress the importance of not giving up.  However, what is more important is that children have a network of support that they can fall back on, no matter what.  Children can be given role models in the form of parents, relatives, and famous people that can show them the importance of resilience in succeeding in life. 

 

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