Resilient Children Build Strong Families and Communities


On May 17, 2019 I attended a workshop at the City of Tigard, OR public works building, Creating Strong Families and Communities, presented by Dr. Amy Stoeber. She covered Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) known to cause life stress and trauma (e.g., divorce, parental arrest, emotional neglect and abuse, bulling, peer pressure etc.). Children who experience ACE and have no positive, or little adult interaction are at greater risk of depression, drug addiction, obesity, detachment and learning and behavioral disorder(s), etc., with associated ill-health risk.

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Humans have a long history of fascination with stories about people overcoming great adversity. Through trauma-informed prevention parents learn how to connect emotionally with their children, help them make better choices and become more resilient to environmental toxic stress during the developmental years. Multiple labels have been proposed to identify emotionally hardy kids, such as stress-resistant, successful high-risk kids, and invulnerable. Resilient is the term that stuck.

Through resilience training, adults learn how to connect emotionally with children to help them normalize behavior, make better choices and achieve social and academic success by setting high expectations. And in some cases these connections are being credited with saving young lives.

How can you help your child cope with daily stress and trauma? 

You can work with a child to help resolve an unhealthy situation before it gets out of control and creates a serious consequence. Make it your parental mission to communicate more with your child and don’t ignore irregular or bad behavior. Behavior is one way children communicate. Also do what you say and say as you do. Young people live up or down to expectations we set for them. They need adults who believe in them unconditionally and hold them to the high expectations of being compassionate, generous, and creative.

Through this communicative process you can also support a child in achieving Ginsberg’s 7 Cs, “The Essential Building Blocks of Childhood Resilience.” Which was also covered in this public training session. They are:

When kids do the right things they feel Competent. 2) Confidence helps kids navigate complex environments in/outside of home turf. 3) A strong connection within a circle of support with other people, schools and communities offer young people security that allows them to stand on their own. 4) A clear sense of right and wrong develops character integrity. 5) Contributions to the well-being of others and community at large feels good. And when in need have learned to ask and accept help from others shame. 6) Those who’ve learned how to use stress coping strategies are less likely to use a quick feel good fix. 7) Control is gained by young people who understand privileges and respect are earned through demonstrated responsibility.

Adverse Childhood Education is helping our kids achieve the essential building blocks of resilience. I support the continuation of these types of publically informed prevention education programs because they lead to healthier and productive lifestyles, strong family bonds and safe communities for generations to follow.

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Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a former member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in expanding recreational opportunities for all ages. 2019 Copy right. All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Inc.

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