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Euipping children

(14 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Feb-14 14:14:56

Please can anyone give some advice on how to equip children to deal with whatever they may have to face in the future and how to build resilience in them.

RudolphLovesoftplay Thu 06-Feb-14 19:57:21

This is an enormous area, I think it completely depends on circumstance. Could you give any more details without compromising anything confidential?

holycowwhatnow Thu 06-Feb-14 21:23:53

Very early days for us - 2 years home with our 3 year old - so there will be others with much more sage advice along later. My dd seems so far to be a very resilient child. She was 'fortunate' to have had a relatively stable time of it- hospital for a few weeks and then a comparatively good baby home with mostly nice minders. As Kew describes it, benign neglect. DD was 'fortunate' to have formed an attachment with one of her 8 carers which undoubtedly has stood to her. So there's the background.

We went to an attachment specialist with her who gave us some practical tips. Play lots of 'peepo' type games. Loads of hide and seek, with the child doing all the hiding, and overemphasising the phrase 'I FOUND you' each and every time. DD loves to hear 'You're my girl forever and ever' (says it to her dolls.) When she throws herself down in the shop and refuses to come, I always tell her 'You have to come with me because we have to do X and I WOULD NEVER LEAVE YOU'.' You would think she's not taking it in but then at another time, in another situation, she'll say to me 'You never leave me.' We were in a shopping centre one day and she was in the Peppa Pig rocket and I met a neighbour and moved a little to chat to her. When DD got out of the rocket, she couldn't spot me immediately and got in a bit of a panic. When I waved to her, she came over for a cuddle and while she was in my arms said 'You never leave me.'

I'll be watching this thread with interest. I'm still in early days and there have been no problems thus far but I wonder are there things I should be looking out for, are there things my rose-tinted glasses are preventing me from seeing. Kew, you said you wished you'd seen your ds's separation anxiety earlier. What signs do you think you missed?

Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Feb-14 22:46:57


Specifics aren't about a new child for me yet but just general because someone said on another thread they thought resilience was covered in the prep group and it wasn't really covered in our group.

E.g. what to say when people ask nosy questions, I mean that was covered to come extend but what other things might have been covered about building up a child's resilience.

Devora Thu 06-Feb-14 23:01:38

For me, resilience is akin to self-esteem - things we blithely say we will equip our children without any clear plan as to how. It is pretty easy to work out how to destroy a child's resilience and self esteem, but how to provide it? IME children bring their own baggage and you can do all the right things and still have a child with poor resilience or low self esteem.

Anyway, I'm obviously rubbish at this, so look forward to reading others' good advice.

Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Feb-14 23:12:33

This really is something I have been thinking about a bit in relation to things like teen suicide. How can we make our children resilient so that of they encounter bullying, harassment etc they are able to come through it. I am just so alarmed that so many children and teens are affected so badly by the opinions and actions of others.

Had a look at this....

Meita Thu 06-Feb-14 23:44:10

We did cover resilience briefly in prep course, but not much except 'some children are more resilient than others' and 'it is important to build resilience'. So on the one hand implying that it is a given, something that children come with (or don't); on the other hand implying that it is something we can affect/that was probably negatively affected in the past. I guess both bits are partially true.

I'd agree with Devora that it is similar to self-esteem.
For me resilience is about being able to come through bad things fairly intact. Not so much about avoiding bad things happening, but being able to come through them.
But what gives you that ability?

I guess you would be more resilient if you had a very secure sense of self, meaning a bad experience would not make you fundamentally doubt yourself.
Probably it has something to do with 'attribution style', a concept I came across about 15 years ago at uni, so no idea how up to date it still is; but basically if you attribute bad things to yourself (I'm rubbish hence this happened/I didn't achieve that) but good things to others/chance/things outside yourself (it is pure luck that I won that award, rather than 'I won it because I am smart', or 'I won it because I worked hard') then chances are you are not very resilient.
I can imagine that resilience has something to do with having an positive/optimistic attitude; seeing/expecting the good in something might help you get through an experience whereas you might struggle if you only saw/expected the bad. However over optimistic would not be good either as it would set you up to fail. So somewhere on the good side of realistic perhaps.
That prayer occurs to me, where you ask for the strength to change/improve the things you can change, the patience (?) to accept the things you can't change, and the wisdom to tell one from the other. I can imagine that this would make a resilient person.
I can also imagine that secure not only in yourself, but also in a network of people with shared values and shared feelings of belonging, would help you be resilient. If other people constantly validate you, you could deal with more trouble than if you lacked that background.

However how to help a child become more resilient… certainly no quick fixes! Time and consistency and reliability and a portion of luck thrown in I'd say.

roadwalker Sat 08-Feb-14 09:04:18

I think you need to remember that you cannot undo what has already been done or the brain that has already developed
Safe structured routine
Some children like a visual calendar (my DD hated this)
Lots of younger type games like clapping and games that promote eye contact
Lots of touch and love, skin to skin contact if ok for child and no sexual abuse
One of the most important things IMO opinion and often missed by over caring parents is allowing the child to struggle when learning. So jigsaws/toys/books they need to know you have the confidence that they can do it. If parents jump in too soon it give the message that they are not capable of working it out for themselves
So, it is making a judgement of how much stress the can cope with and helping when it becomes too much for them

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Feb-14 11:49:50

Thanks Roadwalker, Meita, Devora, Rudloph and Holycow.

Roadwalker have you got the full report and is it worth it?

crazeekitty Sat 08-Feb-14 12:11:02

It will very much depend on the age and cognitive development of your child on placement. Dd is older and we can talk quite openly about some things. We replay conversations so she can practise what she could have said or done differently to get a different outcome.

On placement she was.emotionally all over the place (understandably) and over the months has learnt to regulate emotions and have different levels of responses... Sometimes. But she still cannot stand being teased affectionately... She just doesn't get the nuances of it. So we just don't do it.

roadwalker Sun 09-Feb-14 09:24:05

I thought I had seen the full report at some time but after dig around cannot find it
There will be lots of other stuff about. I will keep looking though
Are you familiar with 'time-in' strategies?

Italiangreyhound Sun 09-Feb-14 09:38:38

Thanks so much Roadwalker and crazeekitty.

I think I am interested in this whole subject of equipping (not euipping!) and of resilience for all kids. For the child we adopt, for my 9 year old birth dd, for the kids at school and generally.

I am shocked and saddened that the UK appears to have such a poor record on things like bullying and that so many young people take their own lives due to issues which with help could be sorted out (like bullying). I am just interested in the whole topic and in doing all I can to build kids who can care for themselves emotionally, love themselves, respect themselves and do the same for others.

This is from 2008 so not exactly news!

"Bullying in secondary schools is worse in the UK than the rest of Europe, a new British Council survey has found.

The study, published today, found that nearly half of UK secondary school pupils (46%) think that bullying is a problem in their school and is caused by students' language difficulties, skin colour, race and religion.

The situation is perceived to be worse in England, where 48% of pupils think bullying is a problem in school, compared to 43% of pupils in Scotland and 32% in Wales."

However it also says....

"But more UK students (42%) said they were happier in school most of the time than on average in the rest of Europe (33%)."

So we have the potential to do well, but bullying is a big issue to me!

Festival14 Sun 02-Mar-14 07:15:30

Tanya Byron has done a lot of work in this area. Not sure where you live in the country, but she is talking in June in Cheltenham - more info available at - or maybe worth taking a look at her own website?

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Mar-14 09:16:20

Festival14 that looks really great but is specifically about children in education. I wonder if she is doing one about parents and their kids, to incorporate kids before education/in early education as well. If you are in touch with her, would you be able to find out please?

Or could you pm me any way to get in touch with her, please? I a huge Tanya Byron fan!

Thanks so much.

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