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Building Resilience Through Caring Relationships
June 6, 2022
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.
-Catherine M. Wallace and Diane Leonard, authors

At TEDxTemecula in 2021, Teresse Lewis shared her key conclusion from 15 years of research on resilience in children and youth:

"We as adults in the lives of kids need to teach resilience as fervently as we teach math, science, sports, art…Whatever it is you feel passionately about, that you want kids to have, we need to teach resilience with as much fervor, because we are giving kids what they need and preparing them for the part of life we know is inevitable."

Rachel Robertson makes a similar point in the article at the core of the Out of the Box Training "Making Happy Happen - Building Resilience in Children," "The truth is, achievement and happiness are not synonymous, nor does the presence of one guarantee the other. While progressive achievement is a worthwhile goal for children, it should not be pursued instead of, or worse, at the expense of happiness."

Emphasizing the '7 C's of Resilience' developed by Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg—competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping and control—Robertson suggests several ways to help children build resilience:

  • Provide support rather than advice.
  • Role-play typical age-appropriate moral dilemmas or ethical challenges so children are more prepared to face them in real life.
  • Practice considering others’ perspectives.
  • Get out of the way —let children make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Teach social and coping skills.
  • Above all, be a good role model.
  • Lewis makes a final case for supporting children through caring relationships, "Being a caring adult for kids not only builds resilience in them but it develops what we call a strong inner voice… I want you to take a moment and imagine a child hearing your voice and your message in their head, and how that might impact them when they are facing a situation that you are not able to stand by their side and help them to overcome."

Out of the Box Training

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To help you become more of an “out of the box” leader, Out of the Box Trainings are ready-to-use professional development programs on a variety of contemporary topics to support and improve the skills and pedagogy of those who work with young children.

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