Promoting Resilience in Children

By Colby Pearce Jessica Kingsley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-84905-118-7, 112 pages, $ This book provides a succinct, accessible and clear guide on how to promote resilience in children and achieve positive developmental outcomes for them. The author covers promoting-resiliencethree key factors that affect resiliency: vulnerability to stress and anxiety, attachment relationships, and access to basic needs. For each, the author presents practical advice and strategies, such as how to regulate children’s stress and anxiety, how to encourage and maintain secure attachments, and how to assure children that their needs are understood and will be met. The model presented will help parents ensure their children grow up happy, healthy and resilient. A child’s capacity to cope with adversity and “stand on their own two feet” is seen as critical to their development, well-being and future independence and success in adulthood. Psychological strength, or resilience, directly affects a child’s capacity to cope with adversity. The author, Colby Pearce explains his goal for the book is “to provide . . . a clear vision of how to ensure that children realize their natural inheritance to be resilient.” Following an introductory chapter, there are three chapters devoted to three categories of resiliency and each chapter ends with a review. The book is written with easy-to-relate-to examples, taken both from the author’s personal experiences as well as based on his clinical and hypothetical examples. Highlights in the book include a chart for behavioral interventions, explanations on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy with children, and a review of self-calming techniques. The primary theme is that resilience must be nurtured in children, enabling them to develop self-esteem through “experiences of achievement” as they explore their environments, which ultimately leads to successful lives as adults. Parents and caregivers who understand the intrinsic biological (self-calming), psychological (attachment), and environmental (needs provision) components of resilience are better equipped to promote positive experiences of mastery and resilience. The author remains engaged in his topic, but never loses the awareness of his readers. Explanations of key concepts are not rushed, but presented methodically. Pearce defines resilience: “[T]hat quality of the individual that enables them to persist . . . and recover . . .”  Resilience, for Pearce, is an active, essential ingredient in a child’s healthy development. A child must have resilience in order to feel comfortable exploring his world, to seek out challenges and take healthy risks, thereby achieving successful and productive lives. Despite the focus on academic and vocational achievements and productivity, readers should be reassured that success in relationships, as well as healthy self-esteem are just as important and are goals of resilience as well. This is especially true for young people. Feeling secure enough to explore the world around them enables children and adolescents to make friends, negotiate boundaries, relate to others, and learn to accept themselves. These are important moments in development that continue to impact their future relationships. Pearce’s book is a short introduction to a vital concept in child and adolescent development and provides a useful foundation for those who want to explore this topic further. By raising questions about resilience, we clarify interventions, leading to healthier development. This book will be invaluable for parents, caregivers and practitioners in supportive roles caring for or supporting children. — Denise Rice, MSW, LCSW, LAC, has been collaborating, training, supporting and partnering with those in child welfare and mental health for more than 18 years. Whether as a local and national trainer/presenter, therapist, consultant, crisis assessment specialist, or frontline worker, Rice’s mission is to share the message have hope! Honor healing! Practice peace! For any additional information or if interested in having her present a training/workshop, contact her at [email protected]. Rice lives in Colorado Springs with her two fur babies.

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