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About Resilience

Research has shown that resilience is the most important quality
you can instill in your children.

Brooks, R. & S. Goldstein. 2001. Raising Resilient Children. New York: McGraw–Hill
What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to "bounce back" from life's inevitable pressures and hard times. It helps us handle stress, overcome childhood disadvantage, recover from trauma and reach out to others and opportunities so we can grow and learn. [2]Masten, A. S. & J. D. Coatsworth. 1998. The development of competence in favorable and unfavorable environments: Lessons from research on successful children. American Psychologist, 53 (2), 205–220; Werner, E. and R. Smith. 2001. Journeys from Childhood to Midlife: Risk, Resilience, and Recovery. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

"Resilient" people have been shown to have happier relationships and are less prone to depression, more successful in school and jobs, and even live healthier and longer lives. [3]Reivich, K. & A. J. Shatté. 2002. The Resilience Factor. New York: Broadway Books.

Watch the video to learn more about resilience.

> Or view "Overview of resilience" with Windows Media Video   LOW    HIGH

Resilience can be learned and shared

Substantial evidence confirms that thinking and coping skills that promote resilience can be learned. More than 30 years of systematic research on preventing depression and promoting resilience at the University of Pennsylvania and other university centres has shown that these resiliency skills can be effectively taught to children eight years and older. [4]Reivich, K. & A. Shatté. 2002. The Resilience Factor. New York: Broadway Books; Seligman, M. E. P. 1991. Learned Optimism. New York: Pocket Books; Seligman, M. E. P., K. Reivich, L. Jaycox, and J. Gillham. 1995. The Optimistic Child. New York: Harper Perennial.

Further research conducted by Reaching IN...Reaching OUT demonstrates that these skills can be adapted and introduced through modeling and child-friendly activities with children seven years and younger with positive outcomes.

Why some people "bounce back" and others get stuck

Studies show that the way we think about life's challenges can affect our ability to cope with them. Furthermore, we tend to develop "thinking habits" that can help or hinder our response to stressful situations. Click here to learn more about thinking habits.

People who can think about a situation flexibly and accurately are better able to identify the root of the problem and find options to deal with it. Challenging our thinking habits helps us develop our flexibility and accuracy and thereby supports our resilience.[5]Reivich, K. & A. J. Shatté. 2002. The Resilience Factor. New York: Broadway Books. Click here to learn more about how to challenge thinking habits.

"Role Models of Resilience"

As anyone who spends time with kids knows, little children are mimics. They learn by watching us. Research shows children as young as two copy the coping and thinking styles of adults around them.[6]Seligman, M. E. P., K. Reivich, L. Jaycox, and J. Gillham. 1995. The Optimistic Child. New York: Harper Perennial. Whether we are aware of it or not, we become role models for kids when we deal with life's stresses and opportunities.

Watch the video showing how "children see" what adults "do."

WARNING: This powerful video may be upsetting to some viewers. (Adult and child actors show what children learn when adults role model a range of negative behaviour including verbal abuse and violence.)

When stress gets the best of us, children learn to lose patience and perspective, to misplace blame and to imagine the worst. When we cope well, children learn valuable resiliency skills like calming down more easily, being more empathic and helping others, being more confident and persevering, and finding alternative ways to deal with problems. RIRO helps adults become positive role models and teaches them special child–friendly activities that build children's resilience.

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"I feel in our society it is so important to empower ourselves and children with these skills. It will affect our future success in school and work, relationships, parenting, health, etc. RIRO training puts so much into perspective."
–LP (manager, OEYC)

"I believe RIRO skills training would be helpful for anyone and specifically for those whose emotional responses prevent them from fulfilling their potential."
–NS (child & youth worker)

"I think that RIRO is a great way to look inwards especially when people begin to feel burnt out."
–LM (behaviour management specialist)

"How we role model resilience with young children on a daily basis is an essential part of their learning – it is far more important than we realize."
–CJ (resource consultant)