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Supporting children and young people's wellbeing
Supporting children and young people's wellbeing

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3 The concept of resilience

You will now start to explore how children and young people’s wellbeing can be supported. In particular, you will look at the concept of resilience and what this means for childhood and youth services.

Activity 3 Examining the term ‘resilience’

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Task 1

What does the term ‘resilience’ mean to you? If you were asked to describe a ‘resilient young person’, what qualities, behaviours and skills might you refer to? Spend about 15 minutes reflecting on these questions and making notes below.

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Discussion

You may have referred to some of the following terms:

  • the ability to cope
  • self confidence
  • inner resolve
  • self-esteem
  • grit.

These are just a few of the terms that are commonly used when talking about resilience and, of course, you will have ideas of your own, and these may be based on your own experiences. You may have included terms such as self-confidence and inner resolve, for instance, as behaviours that can develop throughout life or be strengthened. Yet, as previously noted it may be that many young people are more naturally predisposed to these behaviours.

What you may have found when doing this activity is that the concept of resilience is actually quite difficult to put into words; it is not definitively one thing or another but a complex interplay of behaviours, skills and qualities. But why do you think developing these skills and qualities are so important?

Task 2

Write down some key points below on why you think developing resilience is so important for children and young people.

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Discussion

In describing resilience, Mind – a UK charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people – suggests that avoiding life’s challenges completely isn’t possible, but developing the skills to deal with them effectively when they arise will help to guard against potentially catastrophic consequences. Mind suggests that ‘resilience is something that can change over time’ and furthermore, ‘can be taught, and learned’ (Mind, 2017). One might consider resilience as an important life skill linked to wellbeing. Resilient behaviours and qualities can act as buffers that protect children and young people from further stress and anxiety. Yet the concept of resilience is very broad and includes a number of skills, qualities and behaviours.

Daniel and Wassell (2002) have proposed a wide range of factors from individual characteristics (such as empathy and problem solving skills) to family factors (such as a close bond to at least one person), through to those that are community wide (such as good a school experience and extended network of support).