How Resilient Are Children, Really?







Are children resilient?

Yes, children can be impressively resilient, but they are not indestructible!

They also don't have a bottomless reserve of resilience.


Children are programmed to learn and survive. Resilience is what cushions them through this journey. They are prepared to "spend" or "use" their resilience more readily because they are prepared to take learning risks. This is part of how they grow.


Just like they are equipped to heal faster from a fall or a virus, they are also equipped to learn better and resilience is a part of this process.


But where do they get this resilience from?

Truth is, the source of their resilience is the attention that they receive from their parents and caregivers.


If we consider that the nutrition that children receive gives them a leg up when they have to face physical problems like sickness or a broken bone, then by the same token, parental attention is the nutrition that children need to replenish their resilience and give them the strength to learn and grow.


What if we don't give children enough attention?

Lack of attention is the equivalent of malnutrition. Can children survive malnutrition? Yes, but they will not grow very healthy. Malnutrition effects are long-term and they will show in a variety of ways like physical and mental health problems.


The same is true when we neglect our children. They will still survive, but not without damage. Without the cushioning that resilience offers a child's learning and growth, they will be easily defeated and prone to failure. These effects are also long-term.

Children don't have an endless supply of resilience. They are as resilient as the support they receive.