With help and support we can move forward in resilience.
In the past two blog posts, we’ve discussed childhood trauma, what it is, and its impact on children and adults. Thankfully, trauma doesn’t have to be the end. We know if individuals get help and have a support system, they can heal. They are resilient.
The official definition of resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness” and “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.” Resilience allows us to bounce back, to recover, or to cope well in a difficult situation.
Adverse Childhood Experiences are traumatic to children and impact the developing brain. Without treatment, these experiences can lead to poor health outcomes as adults. The good news is that the brain is elastic! The technical term is neuroplasticity, meaning the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual’s life. With the proper responses and support, children can develop resiliency and change the patterns in their brain. They can become strong, healthy and successful. They can bounce back.
This leads to the third question in our series: What do we need to be resilient?
Children need reliable, informed adults to act as a buffer to negative consequences in daily life. A buffer provides protection, encouragement and support. In Stewards of Children® we talk about the need for children to have a trusted adult they can go to for support. In fact, Stewards of Children® seeks to empower adults to protect children from harm. In our previous post Oprah Winfrey talked about the importance of her fourth grade teacher. Oprah recognized her teacher as someone who believed in her and valued her. She says the teacher, “saw her.” This type of relationship builds resiliency in children, and adults for that matter. Who was that person in your life? Who are you providing that same type of encouragement to today?
There are other factors that can help develop resilience and alleviate toxic stress. Mindfulness and mediation, exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, and healthy social interactions all play an important part in developing resiliency. Interventions are most effective when the medical community, schools, and other organizations serving children have an understanding of ACEs and are trauma-informed in their approach to children.
We know that trauma happens, but there is always hope for a positive outcome. We must work together for the sake of our children and their future. We all have a part to play. What will you do?
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