ACEs are preventable.
One way we can prevent ACEs in early childhood is to learn about resilience and develop skills so we can help children and adults who have experienced trauma to connect to resources, information and therapy. We can create warm and loving experiences for children to ensure safe spaces for children and families to heal, to develop resilience and to thrive in their communities.
What is resilience?
According to the Administration for Children and Families, resilience is defined as “the ability of individuals to not succumb to adverse experiences and is the typical response to adversity”.
It’s important to note that trauma can sometimes create negative coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, which can make it challenging, but not impossible, to build resilience.
Trauma itself doesn’t make someone less resilient; resilience can be learned and developed over time with learning proper resilience-building skills, such as developing positive coping strategies and habits.
How resilient are you?
Do you “bounce back” from stressful events? Do you find you look on the bright side when things get tough? Do you find meaning in life experiences?
Take this quiz to learn more about your level of resilience:
Everyone is different. Some people have had the benefit of learning skills early on, and some have had to work hard to build their resilience throughout their lives. If this quiz shows you that you’re not that resilient, you can still learn the skills you need to find your strength to “bounce” when life gets tough. You’re worth it!! Check out our resource page for help and support.
Search Institute: The Developmental Assets Framework
There are several critical developmental periods for youth, from around age 5 through age 18. Studies have shown that youth who engage with at least one caring adult can help them develop into the most successful version of their individual, beautiful and unique selves. Communities can come together to plan activities and programs that meaningfully engage young people. By supporting youth growth and learning, and offering youth support through life’s challenges, we can help children learn to bounce back better and grow into resilient adults!
The Search Institute has identified 40 Development Assets, which are positive qualities that every youth should experience.
The eight categories of the 40 Developmental Assets are:
Boundaries and Expectations
Constructive Use of Time
Commitment to Learning
The higher number of assets a child experiences the more likely they are to succeed in school, maintain good health, exhibit leadership, and value diversity. It will also lower the probability of a child’s use of alcohol, violence, the use of illicit drugs, and sexual activity (Search Institute, 2012).
“The more often we can identify our shark music, the better off our children will be.”
Children need adults to help them express and understand their feelings. This support adults can offer helps children of all ages develop resilience. Children rely upon their parents to be with them in their feelings, to help them feel secure as they navigate feelings that overwhelm or understand new feelings they have never felt before. Being with children- really stepping in alongside them in these moments- can be difficult if we have our own emotional reactions (the shark music) based on our experiences as a child. With a little practice, we can learn to identify these triggers and change our reactions.
Check out this 4 minute video: