Resilience has become a buzz word for children in recent years in Australia. There are parents learning how to give resilience training to their children. Schools and governments are including training for resilience into their curricula.

But for all of the enthusiasm for resilience training, it is important to stop for a moment and ask: Is it supported by good research?

What is resilience?

Resilience is the process of children adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy or sources of stress such as family and health problems.

It doesn’t mean not experiencing emotional pain or sadness. It means bouncing back from difficult and distressing experiences. And it isn’t something you’re born with. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that are learned. In addition, the ability to be resilient isn’t static, it can come and go.

Research

Even though the concept of resilience has been around since the 1970s, studies evaluating the benefits of training for resilience are still in the early days. In part this is because resilience is a benefit that may take many years to develop enough to be found in a study.

However the research that has been done shows some good signs. The type of benefits that have been found include both achieving positives and avoiding negative outcomes including:

    Higher attendance rates at school Improved reading and writing skills Less mental health problems like depression Less substance abuse

For more information on resilience training for children visit www.mindmatters.edu.au for secondary school age www.kidsmatter.edu.au for pre-school and primary school ages

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