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 Discuss strategies to build resilience

  • Adversity in childhood can be seen as a situation where a child’s basic emotional, social, physiological, or cognitive needs are not met.
  • Early risk factors include poor attachment to caregivers, poor parenting skills, and multiple family (e.g. poverty, and violent neighborhoods). Such risk factors may directly affect the child’s development and lead to psychological and social problems (e.g. depression, low education, early pregnancy, delinquency).

·         Resilience programs typically target the promotion of protective factors such as parenting skills, academic tutoring (e.g. reading skills), training of social skills, and self-regulation. It has been found that early interventions have better long-term results than programs introduced later in life.

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program

The Triple P is based on social learning principles. Its goal is to target behavioral, emotional, and developmental problems in children aged 0–16 years, through enhancing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of parents. It includes a short, video-based program and group-based interventions.

  • Sanders et al. (2002) found that this program was effective in reducing children’s disruptive behavior. A number of randomized controlled trials show success in promoting effective parenting and children’s prosocial behavior through The Triple P.
  • These findings are supported by Love et al. (2005) who found that parents who had participated in a parental skills training program were more supportive, better at stimulating language development, and used less corporal punishment.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) mentoring program

This is a resilience-based mentoring program for high-risk children and adolescents in the USA. The program is based on the idea that social support from a caring adult to a high-risk child or adolescent can promote a healthy development in spite of environmental risk factors.

Tierney et al. (1985) studied the impact of mentoring on the behavior of 959 high-risk children and adolescents, aged 10–16, from low-income families. Many had experienced family violence or substance abuse. Half of them were assigned a mentor and half of them acted as control. The researchers were interested in the outcome of mentoring on factors such as antisocial behavior, academic performance, relationships with family members and friends, and self-concept.

The results showed a positive outcome if the adult provided a caring relationship and had positive expectations. The program did not target any specific problem behavior but was merely investigating whether social support from an adult could promote resilience.