Children and Resilience

by Richard Wooldridge, Therapeutic Mentor

Recently I read an article, Eight Things to Remember about Child Development. It was published by Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child and addressed resiliency in the face of adversity. I kept thinking of one particular child, Paco, who was eight when we met.

Paco’s father abruptly disappeared from his life when he was deported to Mexico. The sudden separation was very traumatic for little Paco. Everything in his life was going along fine, and then all of a sudden his father was just gone for good.
The Harvard study reported that the reliable presence of at least one supportive relationship is essential for strengthening a child’s capacity to do well in the face of significant adversity. That is what Therapeutic Mentoring is all about! Paco has supportive relationships with his mother and grandmother, but now he has one with me as well. And I focus much of our time on coping skills.
Furthermore, the study found that children “can be helped substantially if reliable and nurturing relationships with supportive caregivers are established as soon as possible.” This is an important aspect of Therapeutic Mentoring: Early intervention prevents a downward spiral into poverty, substance abuse or crime.
The chart (at right) summarizes an important finding of the study:
Well into our adult years, we remain capable of learning ways to work around earlier impacts. That’s encouragement for all of us.
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